Latest Firefighter News
Pension Saving Statements- (02/10/2017)
The annual allowance (sometimes referred to as AA) is set by HMRC and is the maximum your pension can increase by in a tax year before tax charges are imposed. The annual allowance in 2016/17 was £40,000. It will remain at £40,000 for 2017/18.
You will be sent a pensions savings statement each year if your pension savings in the Shropshire County Pension Fund exceeds the annual allowance limit for that year. Pension Saving Statements have recently been issued for the 2016/17 tax year.
Further information can be found on the Annual Allowance webpage.
Annual Benefit Statements for 2017- Online Now (17/08/2017)
Active and deferred firefighter members can now view their 2017 annual benefit statement through ‘My Pension Online’.
Guidance notes are available and should be read alongside your statement.
Changes to the State Pension Age (16/08/2017)
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently published a report outlining the Government’s proposals for changing the state pension age from 2028.
This report follows an announcement by David Gauke, the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, that the rise in State Pension Age to 68 will be bought forward to 2039 from 2046. This is in line with the recommendation in John Cridland’s review. This change will apply to you if you are currently between ages 39 and 47.
With regards to the Firefighters Pension Scheme, the changes to the state pension age will only affect deferred members (members who have left the pension scheme) of the 2015 Firefighters Pension Scheme as the normal retirement age for these deferred members is linked to individual state pension ages. Deferred members of the 1992 Scheme and Special Modified Scheme have a deferred pension age of 60 and deferred members of the 2006 Scheme have a deferred pension age of 65.
We will keep you informed of any further updates.
Individual Protection 2014 (09/03/2017)
Just a reminder that the deadline to apply for Individual Protection 2014 is 5th April 2017.
IP14 protection can protect the Lifetime Allowance as at 5th April 2014 if it was between £1,250,000 and £1,500,000 at that date. This is the equivalent of a pension benefit of over £62,500 per annum.
Please be aware that if you are a Fire officer who may be affected by this and haven’t already applied, you will require a statement from your administrator to register for the protection.
Age Discrimination Case (17/02/2017)
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) tribunal case campaigning for a revision of the tapered protection arrangements introduced from 1 April 2015 applicable for existing members of the 1992, 2006 and Modified Retained Firefighters Pension Schemes has been heard.
The employment tribunal has found that the transitional protections related to the England and Wales 2015 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme are objectively justified and therefore do not amount to unlawful discrimination. Accordingly this means that the current pensions arrangements for firefighters in those schemes can remain in place.
1992 Scheme commutation factors were amended in March 2016 (17/02/2017)
On 18 March 2016 the commutation factors from 11 October 2012 (Later superseded by factors released on 20 May 2014) to convert pension to lump sum were revised. The table has now also been extended to age 75.
The commutation factors are available in the 1992 pension scheme guide on page 16.
Annual Benefit Statements Issued (22/08/2016)
Annual Benefit Statements 2016 for both active and deferred firefighter members are due to be released before 31 August 2016.
Please read the statement and the accompanying notes carefully.
This year’s statement will look different to previous years for many members as it is the first statement for the 2015 Scheme which will include CARE figures.
Annual Benefit Statements for Active members 2016 (13/05/2016)
If you were an active member of the Firefighters Pension Scheme on 31 March 2016, you will be issued with an Annual Benefit Statement. Pension Services aims to issue these statements by 31 August.
If you have transferred into the 2015 Scheme you will notice your statement will look different to previous years. This is because it is the first statement since the introduction of the CARE Scheme.
Transitional members who have benefits in either the 1992/2006 Scheme, or the 2015 Scheme, will have two pay figures on their Statement which may not be the same. This is because the definition for pay for each Scheme is different.
Pensions Increase April 2016 (09/05/2016)
Pensions in payment are revalued each April in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). The revaluation rate is determined by the change in CPI as at September of the previous year. The CPI fell by 0.1% in the year to September 2015. The Pensions (Increase Act) does not allow a reduction to be applied to your Firefighter’s Pension, so this means that there will be no increase this year.
Firefighters Pension Scheme calculations suspended (30/03/2016)
Some calculations within the Firefighters Pension Scheme have been suspended as a result of the change to the discount rate from 16 March 2016, as announced in the recent Budget. The Government sets the discount rate for all public service Pension Schemes.
The discount rate affects the amount of money that would be payable from the Scheme if you were to transfer your pension benefits to another Pension Scheme, also the pension benefits that would be purchased in the Scheme as a result of transferring previous pension rights into the Scheme. The discount rate also affects the amount of your Cash Equivalent Value (CEV) if you have requested this for divorce purposes and it also affects the commutation factors for 1992 Scheme members.
We are awaiting updated factors from the Government’s actuaries which will take into account the change to the discount rate when making these calculations. Once received we will be able provide the affected calculations.
We apologise for this delay and any inconvenience it may cause you.
The New State Pension and National Insurance Changes (06/01/2016)
A new single tier, flat rate State Pension is being introduced on 6 April 2016. It will replace the existing basic and additional State Pension.
As a member of the Firefighters Pension Scheme (FPS) you are currently ‘contracted out’ of the additional State Pension and therefore receive a rebate on your National Insurance (NI) contributions. Upon the introduction of the New State Pension, Contracting Out will cease as there will not longer be an earnings related part to the State Pension.
To help you understand the changes a series of guides and videos are available below:
Click here to read the Questions and Answers leaflet which will provide further information of how firefighters will be affected by the changes to the New State Pension and Contracting Out.
For information about the new State Pension please visit: www.gov.uk/yourstatepension
You can also watch a video about the new State Pension which can be viewed here.
Important Changes to the Lifetime Allowance (14/12/2015)
The Lifetime Allowance is the total amount of savings you can take across all of your pension schemes without facing a tax charge.
The lifetime allowance is currently £1.25 million but will be reducing to £1 million in April 2016. From this date you may face a tax charge if you take more than £1 million from your combined pension savings.
For further information please click here.
Firefighters Pensions Scheme 1992 – contribution holidays (14/12/2015)
A couple of years ago an issue was raised about contributions holidays in the 1992 Scheme. It has been ruled that a firefighter who could achieve 30 years in the 1992 Scheme before age 50 should be allowed to have a contribution holiday. This is because the maximum service that can be counted for benefits in the 1992 scheme is 30 years.
The Fire Brigade Union have now sent out a circular confirming the decision which has been reached on this issue of contributions for firefighters who joined between age 18 & 20 and who reach 30 years’ service before age 50.
The circular can be found by clicking here.
Firefighter Annual Benefit Statements for Active Members (28/09/2015)
Annual Benefit Statements for active firefighter members are issued before the end of August each year.
If you have any queries about your 2015 Annual Benefit Statement, please refer to the notes pages which can be found by clicking here.