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

What benefits will I receive?

About your RFMFPS 2006 pension calculations, retirement benefits, life and dependants' cover.

1 How your pension is calculated

The Retained Firefighters' Modified Pension Scheme 2006 (RFMPS 2006) is a final salary scheme. This means that the pension you accrue is based on the amount of pensionable service you have built up and your earnings when you leave the scheme. We work out your pension using the following formula:

  • Final pensionable pay x pensionable service (to maximum of 30 years) x 1/45

Final pensionable pay, in most cases, will be your pensionable pay, at whole-time rate, averaged over the last 365 days of pensionable service. However, if either of the two preceding years would produce a greater amount, that year’s pensionable pay would be used instead.

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. 

We calculate your pensionable service by comparing the pensionable pay you receive from your retained duties with the pensionable pay that would have been received by a whole-time firefighter in the same role over the same period (reference pay).This comparison will normally be made over each scheme year (1 April to 31 March) and will indicate the proportion of pensionable service which will count in each scheme year.

  • Actual pensionable pay/reference pay = pensionable service

2 When you can draw your retirement benefits

Normal pension age (NPA) is 55 but you can elect to take your retirement benefits on the following:

  • Normal retirement
    If you retire from your employment as a firefighter at age 55, the retirement benefits you have built up will be paid without reduction.
  • Ill health retirement
    If you leave service at any age due to permanent disablement, you may be considered for an ill health pension. If the authority determines you should receive an ill health pension it would be payable without reduction. The type of ill health pension you receive will depend on whether your disablement meets the higher or lower tier ill health conditions:
    • Higher tier
      You must have a minimum of 5 years' active service in the New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006 (NFPS 2006) and/or Modified Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006 (RFMPS 2006) or be treated as having five years' active service to receive this benefit which will enable you to draw the retirement benefit you have built in your pension account plus an additional 2% of the pension you would have earned had you remained in service to age 60.
    • Lower tier
      You must have a minimum of three months' active service in the FPS 2006 and/or RFMPS 2006 or be treated as having three months' active service to receive this benefit which will enable you to draw the retirement benefit you have built in your pension account.

On retirement you will be given the option to convert pension to a tax-free lump sum. This is known as commutation. The amount of lump sum you would receive is determined by multiplying each £1 of pension you give up by a fixed age-related factor provided by the scheme actuary. There are limits on the amount of pension you can commute and you may not commute any part of your higher tier ill health award.

Full details of your commutation options will be provided with details of how to elect to commute your pension when you come to retire.

Reduction in lifetime allowance

If your pension savings are worth more than £1 million, you may need to protect your pension savings from the lifetime allowance tax charge.

3 Life cover

If you die in service and you are an active member of the scheme, a tax free lump sum death grant would be the greater of:

  • 2 x rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death
  • 2 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/period of scheme membership of two times your final pay

This tax-free lump sum will be payable at the discretion of the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Authority to your nominee(s), personal representative or any other person appearing to have been your relative or dependant.

4 Income protection for your dependants

A pension will be paid to your surviving partner and eligible children. A person is treated as a surviving partner if they are your spouse, civil partner or eligible cohabiting partner.

If you die in service and you are an active member, the surviving partner’s pension would be as follows:

  • For the first 13 weeks, the pay you would have received. We will work out the weekly survivor’s pension using the formula:
    • (whole-time pensionable pay/52.2) x (pensionable service/period of scheme membership)
  • Following the first 13 weeks, half of the pension you would have received had you retired on the grounds of ill health with entitlement to a higher tier ill health pension.

The pension paid to an eligible child is a quarter of the pension you would have received had you retired on the grounds of ill health with entitlement to a higher tier ill health pension. If there are more than two eligible children, then the equivalent of two children’s pensions are split equally across the children.

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