Information for members of the LGPS and those with police, firefighter, teacher and NHS pensions
Last updated:
13 June 2017

Can I pay in more?

How you can boost your retirement income by contributing more to your FPS 1992 pension.

1 Making extra contributions

You can increase the amount you receive when you retire by paying extra into the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS 1992) over your standard contributions providing you start any extra payments at least two years before your normal pension age of 55.

Paying more into the FPS 1992 means you benefit from tax relief on any extra contributions you choose to pay.

If you are interested in these options please contact the Pensions Team.

Be aware that if you are already making extra payments to the scheme (which started before 1 April 2015), to increase your membership you may also pay additional contributions to buy extra pension when you transition into the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 2015 (FPS 2015).

2 Contributions during periods of absence

The contribution you pay would depend on the reason for your absence:

Illness or injury leave

Contributions will be taken from the pensionable pay you actually receive. Where you do not receive any pensionable pay you will not build any pensionable service unless you elect to pay the pension contributions for this period of leave. The contributions due will buy back the pensionable service lost and will be based on the pensionable pay you would have received had you not been on leave. You will also be required to pay the employer contribution due.

Child-related leave

Contributions will be taken from the pensionable pay you actually receive. Where you do not receive any pensionable pay after the first 26 weeks of your leave, you will not build any pensionable service unless you elect to pay the pension contributions for this period of leave. The contributions due will buy back the pensionable service lost and will be based on the pensionable pay you received immediately before your pensionable pay stopped. You will not be required to pay the employer contribution due.

Unpaid leave

You will not pay contributions and you will not build any pensionable service unless you elect to pay the pension contributions for this period of leave. The contributions due will buy back the pensionable service lost and will be based on the pensionable pay you received immediately before your leave started. You will also be required to pay the employer contribution due.

Trade dispute

You will not pay contributions and you will not build any pensionable service unless you elect to pay the pension contributions for this period of absence. The contributions due will buy back the pensionable service lost and will be based on the pensionable pay you received immediately before your absence started. You will also be required to pay the employer contribution due.

Reserve Forces leave

You will pay contributions at your normal rate. These contributions are based on the pensionable pay you would have received from the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Authority had you not been on leave.

Pensionable service is the period of your scheme membership that we use to calculate your scheme benefits and on which you have paid or are treated as having paid pension contributions.

3 Buying additional service

If you are unable to build 30 years' pensionable service before you reach the age of 55, you can purchase additional service by paying additional monthly contributions.

If you would like to pay additional monthly contributions you would need to make an election at least two years before you reach age 55 and you must have been under the age of 46 when you joined the scheme. The additional contributions would start to be deducted from your first birthday following your election and, like your basic pension contributions, will be assessed on your pensionable pay.

The additional service you purchase will be used to determine the pension that is paid to you and your dependants. However, you cannot count purchased additional service towards the 25 years’ pensionable service needed for retirement at age 50 and before 55 or towards the pensionable service used for assessing entitlement to an ill health pension.

If you leave or stop paying your additional contributions before the amount due to purchase your additional service is paid you will be credited with the appropriate portion of service purchased.

There are limits on the amounts you can save over a year and over your lifetime. If you exceed the limits, you may be liable for an additional tax charge.

4 Contributions to a stakeholder or personal pension scheme

You also have the option to pay contributions into a pension scheme of your own choosing as well as being a member of the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS 1992).

You can, if you wish, pay up to 100% of your taxable earnings in each tax year (or £3,600 if greater) into any number of concurrent pension arrangements of your choice and be eligible for tax relief on those contributions.

5 Limits on the pensions savings you can make

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) limits the amount you pay into a pension scheme each year (the Annual Allowance) and the amount you can build up over your lifetime (the Lifetime Allowance) and receive tax relief. If you exceed either of these limits you will have to pay an additional tax charge.

Further information about the Lifetime and Annual Allowances can be found on GOV.UK.

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