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

What benefits will I receive?

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

1 How your pension is calculated

The New Firefighters' Pensions Scheme 2006 (NFPS 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 45 years) x 1/60

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. Each day of pensionable service will count as 1/365th of 1/60th unless your hours of employment are fewer than whole-time, in which case the calendar length of your pensionable service would reflect your part-time hours.

For example, if you have completed six calendar years' pensionable service during which you worked half the whole-time hours, your pensionable service will be three years.

If you are a retained or volunteer firefighter, the pensionable pay you receive is compared 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) during your service. It will indicate the proportion of pensionable service which will count in each scheme year:

  • Actual pensionable pay/reference pay = pensionable service

If you are a retained or volunteer firefighter as well as a whole-time firefighter, there is a limit of 45 years on the total pensionable service you can accrue in the NFPS 2006 under the two contracts.

It will apply regardless of whether the retained and whole-time employments are with the same or a different English fire and rescue authority.

If your combined pensionable service should exceed 45 years, you would be entitled to a refund of excess contributions.

2 When you can draw your retirement benefits

Normal pension age (NPA) is 60 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 60, the retirement benefits you have built up will be paid without reduction.
  • Early retirement
    If you have reached age 55 you can request the early payment of your pension and your retirement benefits would be payable with reduction to reflect the fact that your pension will start payment before you have reached NPA.
  • 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 five years' active service or be treated as having five years' active service to receive this benefit. It 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 or be treated as having three months' active service to receive this benefit. It will enable you to draw the retirement benefit you have built in your pension account.
  • Employer-initiated retirement
    If you reach age 55 but have not yet reached your 60th birthday, you may receive your retirement benefits without reduction for early payment if the authority terminates your employment. This would be after it had determined that a retirement pension should be awarded on the basis that it would ‘assist the economical, effective and efficient management of its functions’ having taken account of the costs likely to be incurred in the particular case.

On retirement you will be given the option to convert up to a quarter of your pension to a tax-free lump sum enabling you to receive £12 for each £1 of pension you give up. You will be provided with details of this option 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 of three times your pensionable pay 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.

If you are working part-time, your death grant will be worked out using your part-time rate of pensionable pay.

If you are a voluntary or retained firefighter the death grant would be the greater of:

  • 3 x rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death
  • 3 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/period of scheme membership.

4 Income protection for your dependants

A pension will be paid to your surviving partner and eligible children, providing you have been a member of the NFPS 2006 for three or more months or have transferred other pension benefits into the scheme.

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. If you are a retained or voluntary firefighter 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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