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    The Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS 1992)

    This section of the website is for firefighters who joined the Fire & Rescue service before 6th April 2006 and who didn't elect to join the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 2006 (FPS 2006) when they were allowed to do so as part of the national Options Exercise.

    The FPS 1992 currently operates on a final salary basis which means that their pension benefits are based on their pay at the time they leave their employment and their length of service.

    The FPS 1992 has been closed to new members since 6th April 2006.

    Key Features
    • All new recruits to the Fire & Rescue service before 6th April 2006 became members of the FPS 1992, unless they opted out of the scheme.
    • Firefighters contribute between 11% and 17% of their pay depending on the amount of their pay.
    • FPS 1992 is a 'final salary' scheme, which means that their pension is calculated as a proportion of their final average pensionable pay. This is generally their pay in their last year of service as a member of the scheme.
    • The pension that they will receive depends on their pensionable service, which for most members will be the length of service for which they have paid pension contributions, plus any service transferred from another pension scheme and with appropriate adjustments for any part-time service.
    • FPS 1992 is funded by the contributions from firefighters and Fire & Rescue Authorities, topped up by central government.
    Pension benefits for firefighters
    • The normal pension age for all firefighters is 55 but, if they have 25 years pensionable service, they could retire with an immediate pension from age 50.
    • A pension granted to a firefighter because of ill-health is payable immediately from any age.
    • 30 years service is needed for a maximum pension, based on the first 20 years accruing a pension at the rate of 1/60 of the average pensionable pay and the following 10 years accruing a pension at the rate of 2/60 of the average pensionable pay. This results in a maximum of 40/60 after 30 years.
    • A maximum pension is therefore two-thirds of a firefighter's average pensionable pay.
    • Average pensionable pay is in effect the highest pensionable pay for the 365 days before retirement. If either of the 2 preceding 365 days produces a higher pay figure, then that figure can be used to calculate benefits.
    • There is an option to exchange ('commute') part of the pension for a tax-free lump sum. Pensions in payment are generally increased for inflation (though only from the age of 55 unless the firefighter is medically retired or other conditions satisfied).
    • Pensions in payment are generally increased in line with inflation, so that they maintain their buying power.
    Benefits for others on the death of a firefighter
    • A lump sum death grant of two times a firefighter's pensionable pay. A pension for a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, normally of half of the firefighter's pension entitlement (as if they had retired on ill-health grounds), which ceases on remarriage, the formation of a new civil partnership or cohabitation. A pension is not payable to a surviving cohabitee who was not married to, or in a civil partnership with, the firefighter.
    • Dependent children under the age of 23 may qualify for a pension.
    Medical retirement and ill-health pensions
    • A Fire & Rescue Authority has discretion to retire a firefighter on the grounds that he or she is permanently disabled for the ordinary duties of a member of the fire service.
    • If it is also determined that the firefighter is permanently disabled for any other regular employment, the benefits may be enhanced.
    • An immediate pension and lump sum is payable to any firefighter at any age who is granted ill-health retirement.
    • The issue of permanent disablement is determined by a doctor and there are appeal rights against medical decisions.
    • Ill-health pensions are increased for inflation throughout their payment.
    • Fire & Rescue Authorities have discretion to review the payment of ill-health awards at intervals.
    • Even if a firefighter is judged to be permanently disabled, it does not automatically follow that they will be granted ill-health retirement. Their Fire & Rescue Authority will consider whether there are alternative duties that they could perform and still remain in the service (taking account of their overall capabilities).
    • There are separate arrangements for the payment of injury awards to firefighters who are permanently disabled as the result of an injury on duty, which are outside the FPS 1992.
    Other features
    • There is a facility to buy more service in the scheme if a firefighter cannot accrue 30 years pensionable service by age 55. A firefighter can only purchase additional service if they are under 53 at the time of applying.
    • If a firefighter builds up pension rights in the scheme but leaves the Fire & Rescue service (or opts-out of the Scheme) before retirement, they will be eligible for a 'deferred pension' payable at age 60.