When a firefighter dies, their 'survivors', whom can include their spouse or civil partner and / or children, may be eligible to receive benefits from the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992.
Unfortunately, the rules of the FPS 1992 do not allow us to pay a pension to a firefighter's partner unless they are married or have formed a civil partnership.
If a firefighter dies whilst a serving firefighter, provided they were a member of the FPS 1992 at the time of death (and had not opted-out), a lump sum death grant of twice their annual pensionable pay will be paid to their surviving spouse or civil partner.
If there is no surviving spouse or civil partner, it will be paid to the estate of the firefighter. It is therefore important that a firefighter keeps their will up to date to ensure the lump sum is distributed to those they intend for it to go to.
Provided a firefighter and their spouse were married before the last day of service (or, in the case of a civil partnership, the partnership was registered before the last day of service), and were not living separately at the time of the firefighter's death, their pension would be:
If the FPS 1992 member had worked part-time, account will be taken of this in the assessment of the widow(er)'s pension.
If a firefighter had service before April 1972, the pension may be less than half. XPS, the pension scheme administrator, can give personalised details if they are required.
If the firefighter married, or formed a civil partnership, after retirement, then only the service after 5th April 1978 will be included in the calculation of the spouse's pension. (Service after 5th April 1988 in the case of a civil partnership).
Please note that any pension paid to a firefighter's spouse or civil partner will cease on remarriage or the formation of a new civil partnership.
If a firefighter and their spouse were living apart at the time of the firefighter's death, or the firefighter and their spouse married after the firefighter retired, the spouse's pension will be calculated based on the deceased's pensionable service after 5 April 1978 only. The scheme's comprehensive guide can be viewed in the 'Scheme Guides & Forms ' area, which explains about the different scenarios.
To be eligible for a pension, a child has to be the firefighter's natural, illegitimate or step child, or an adopted child, or any other child substantially dependent on the member who is either related to the member, or a child of their spouse or civil partner.
A child who is either married, or who has entered into a civil partnership, will not be considered eligible.
They will receive a pension in their own right up until their 18th birthday or, if they continue in full time education (attending a course that lasts at least a year), to their 23rd birthday. If a firefighter's child has a permanent disability, so they are dependent on the firefighter, the pension is payable for as long as the disability lasts or until the Fire & Rescue Authority is satisfied that the child is no longer permanently disabled.
The amount of pension that a firefighter's receives is normally 18.75% of the firefighter's pension entitlement* where there are less than 3 eligible children; where the firefighter leaves 3 or more eligible children, their benefits will be 37.50% of the firefighter's pension, divided equally by the number of children.
If the firefighter's child is an orphan, we will increase their pension to 25% of the firefighter's pension entitlement (increased to 50%, divided by the number of children, if there are 3 or more).
* - if the firefighter dies in service, their entitlement will be based on the benefits they would have received if they had been granted the combined lower, and higher, tier of ill-health pension at the date they died. Children's pensions will then be the proportion of this enhanced amount (for deaths in service).
Where the firefighter dies in deferment, any children's pensions will be based on the current value of the firefighter's pension (at date of death).
Where the firefighter dies after retirement, any children's pensions will be based on the firefighter's pension in payment (but ignoring the reduction due to commutation for lump sum).