Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992
About the scheme
The Firefighters' Pension Scheme is an unfunded, occupational pension scheme. It is a national scheme with individual fire and rescue authorities responsible for its administration. The scheme is not open to new recruits and it is not possible to transfer other pension rights into the scheme.
- Pension based on service and final pay. Each year of service provides pension worth 1/60 of your final pay. For part-time firefighters service is scaled down pay is the whole-time equivalent.
- Option to commute (exchange) pension for a retirement lump sum
- Option to increase your pension by buying added sixtieths
- Ill health and injury pensions which may be enhanced
- Death in service lump sum of two times pensionable pay
- A pension for your surviving widow, widower or civil partner
- Pensions for dependent children
Current contribution rates
You contribute a percentage of your pensionable pay towards your pension. Your contribution rate is determined by your pensionable pay; if you are part-time, your pay is scaled up to its whole-time equivalent.
|Whole-time equivalent pensionable pay||2013 / 2014 contribution rate|
|Up to £15,000||11%|
|£15,000 to £21,000||11.9%|
|£21,000 to £30,000||12.9%|
|£30,000 to £40,000||13.2%|
|£40,000 to £50,000||13.5%|
|£50,000 to £60,000||13.7%|
|£60,000 to £100,000||14.1%|
|£100,000 to £120,000||14.5%|
|More than £120,000||15%|
If your pay is reduced or stopped due to sick leave or "punishment", you will still pay the full amount of contributions.
During maternity, paternity or adoption leave you will make contributions from the pay you receive. If additional maternity or adoption leave is unpaid, you can opt to pay contributions based on the rate you were receiving immediately before pay ceased, so that it will count as pensionable service.
If you would like another type of unpaid absence to count as pensionable service, contributions must be paid in full. You will have to pay the employee's and employer's contributions. Your fire and rescue authority may pay the employer's amount for you at their discretion.
Annual allowance (AA)
The annual allowance limits how much your pensions savings can increase in a year before you have to pay tax on them. It is set by HM Revenue and Customs. The year is called the pension input period, it runs from 1 April to 31 March and roughly corresponds with the tax year. Increases in the value of pension savings are called deemed contributions.
If your total deemed contributions in a year exceed the annual allowance you must pay a tax charge on the excess. Current annual allowances are:
- 2012/2013 - £50,000
- 2013/2014 - £50,000
- 2014/2015 - £40,000
You are more likely to exceed the annual allowance if:
- you’re on a high salary
- a pay rise increases your pension savings
- you retire due to ill health with an enhanced pension
Enhanced Protection does not protect you against having to pay an annual allowance charge.
But the annual allowance will not apply:
- in the year of death.
- possibly to some ill-health retirements, the government has yet to decide.
Your annual benefit statement will show your deemed contributions for your fire pension. For information about annual allowance used before April 2012, please contact us.
This table shows how the increase in your benefits over the year (deemed contributions) are worked out:
Type of scheme
Fire pensions and other defined benefit schemes
The amount by which your annual pension has increased in a year is multiplied by 16, then added to the increase in any automatic retirement lump sum.
Pension benefits from the start of the year are re-valued to reflect inflation. For allowances from before April 2011 use an allowance of £50,000 and multiply increases in pension by 16.
Defined contribution schemes
The actual amount of contributions made
To see if you have exceeded the annual allowance, add together your deemed contributions for all pension schemes to which you have contributed in the year to see if the total exceeds the annual allowance.
- You can include unused allowances from the previous three years with the year you are checking.
- Only increases in benefits from pensions to which you have contributed during the year count towards your annual allowance.
If you exceed the annual allowance after carrying forward unused annual allowance from the previous three years, you will have to pay income tax on the excess. You should report it on your self assessment tax return and pay the charge by the deadline. HMRC can tell you how to do this. You may elect for your pension scheme to pay some or all of the charge and in return your pension benefits would be reduced.
If you leave service before age 50 your pension will become deferred and its value will be index linked.
- Your deferred benefits will normally be payable at age 60.
- Your deferred pension may be paid from any age on ill health grounds.
- You may be able to transfer the benefits to another pension scheme.
If you re-engage as a firefighter
If you re-engage as a firefighter you will be enrolled into the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme. You could choose to transfer your benefits from the Firefighters' Pension Scheme to your new pensionable service.
You can opt out of the pension scheme at any time by contacting Workforce Support. Your pension benefits would become deferred and their value would be index linked.
- Your deferred pension will normally be payable at age 60, provided you have left service.
- You may be able to transfer the benefits to another pension scheme.
- You cannot rejoin the Firefighters' Pension Scheme, but may be able to join the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme. You may have to undergo a medical at your own expense.
Your pension may be paid from any age on ill health grounds but it will not be increased, as it may have been if you had not opted out.
Any death benefits would relate to your deferred pension, so there would not be a death in service payment. Dependants' pensions would be based on your pay and service at the point you opted out of the scheme, and would not be enhanced.
Firefighters' compensation scheme
If you remain in service, you will continue to be covered by the Firefighters' compensation scheme which is not part of the pension scheme.
Retiring from the Firefighters' Pension Scheme
Your pension will be paid to you
from age 55, the scheme's normal pension age
from age 50 or over with at least 25 years pensionable service
from any age if paid due to ill health or disablement
from age 60 if you have deferred pension benefits
When you tell Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority that you are retiring they will give you a retirement declaration form. Please complete and send it to Pensions Services.
Pensions Services will write to you if you have deferred pension benefits that are due to be paid.
Two pension option (split award)
If your pay dropped after 31 March 2007 in your current role or due to moving to a new role, your pension benefits up to that point will have become deferred and a new pension record will have begun based on your ongoing pay. The deferred pension will become payable at the same time as the ongoing one. When your pensions are due to be paid you can ask to cancel the split award if you would be better off by doing so.
When you retire, you may choose to commute (exchange) some of your pension to provide a retirement lump sum. The amount of the lump sum is determined by factors provided by the Government Actuary which take into account your age at retirement. There is a limit to the amount of pension you can commute:
Maximum pension you can commute
Normal retirement age 55
Retirement with 30 years pensionable service
Up to one quarter of pension
Ill health pension
Up to one quarter of pension. Only lower tier ill health pension can be commuted in the case of higher tier ill health retirement
From age 50 and below age 55 with over 25 but less than 30 years pensionable service
The lump sum must not be more than 2.25 times greater than the pension before commutation
Tax on retirement lump sums
The factor used to calculate any retirement lump sum could mean that it will exceed the maximum allowed by HMRC, currently 25% of the total value of benefits. Any lump sum in excess of that limit will be subject to a 40% tax charge.
If this applies to you, you may wish to seek independent financial advice before making a decision about commutation. Pensions Services will notify you of any tax that you may have to pay on your retirement lump sum.
Guides on the DCLG website
These pages from the DCLG website are no longer being updated.
- Guide to the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992
- Firefighters' compensation scheme
- Internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP) for the Firefighters' Pension Scheme