Information from the FBU to Out of Trade Members - Amendments to the Pension Schemes
There are two pension schemes for firefighters — the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (FPS) and the New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (NFPS) — and last year the government amended both in England
Returning to work for a fire authority
Previously, the rules had stated that former firefighters in the NFPS who returned to work for a fire authority in any capacity would have their pension reduced to ensure their combined salary and pension did not exceed the total from the last time they worked for a fire authority. This reduction only applied to those in the FPS who returned to work as regular firefighters.
However, the new rules mean the rule applies to firefighters in the FPS who return to work for a fire authority in any capacity, including as a retained firefighter.
This change applies retrospectively from 25 September 2009.
The FBU has therefore advising any of its members in the FPS who have retired and returned to work for a fire authority — or think they may in the future — to write to their former employers before 30 September 2014 in order to protect their positions. >>download an example letter
Early payment of pensions on ill-health grounds
Firefighters who leave their jobs before normal retirement age must wait until they reach their pension scheme’s ‘deferred pension age’ before they can draw their pension. In the FPS this age is 60.
However, firefighters in the FPS who can no longer do their jobs because of permanent disability can draw their pension early.
In the NFPS the barrier is higher: the firefighter must be permanently unable to undertake any job as a result of their disability.
The new rules change the barrier for the FPS so that they are the same as the NFPS, so any former firefighters in the FPS currently receiving their pensions because disability prevented them from working in their former roles may now have their pensions reviewed and terminated.
The FBU is therefore advising any members that are suffering from ill-health that might permanently affect their ability to work — or think they may will before reaching the age of 60 — to write to their former employers before 30 September 2014 to protect their positions.
>>download an example letter
Changes to how additional pension benefits are calculated
Firefighters that received long service increment (LSI) payments before they were scrapped or currently receive any continual professional development (CPD) payments are entitled to additional pension benefits (APBs). The rate of inflation affecting these payments had been determined by the retail price index (RPI): a measure of inflation published every month by the Office for National Statistics that looks at the changing cost of a basket of retail goods and services.
Under the new rules, the inflation will be calculated using the consumer price index (CPI): an alternative method that is generally lower than the RPI. This change will apply retrospectively to include the 2010-11 tax year onwards.
As a result, the union is advising any former firefighters who retired after 11 April 2011 and received APBs to write to their former employers before 30 September 2014 to protect their positions. >>download an example letter.