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Pensions Information

Pensions

Pensions

USEFUL INFORMATION


PENSION INCREASE UPDATE

SEPTEMBER CPI NOW RELEASED The ONS have now released the Consumer Price Index for September 2016 which shows an increase of 1% . As a result, Fire Service Pensions will increase by 1% as of 1st April 2017. Full details can be found on the ONS website at: ONS


GUARANTEED MINIMUM PENSION

At State Pension age, although the Fire Service Pension Scheme remains responsible for updating the bulk of your fire service pension, in line with the relevant index, the State becomes liable to index link the much smaller Guaranteed Minimum Pension element of your fire service pension. For a full explanation use the link below:

Index Linking Of State And Fire Service Pension
Parliamentary Note Re GMPs'
Parliamentary Briefing On GMPs'
National Audit Office Report On GMPs Overpayment

This is not the case however for those permanently resident abroad in a country where the state pension is frozen, which includes; Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. In these cases the Fire Service Pension Scheme, by a Treasury Direction (currently dated 6 July 2000) does not reduce their inflation-proofing and the full increase is applied.

Overseas Pension And GMP
Taxation On State Pension
What Is Contracting Out?
Increasing Your National Insurance Contributions
How Do You Get National Insurance Credits
HMRC Guide To Contracting Out

Recent questions in the House of Commons and attendant publicity has highlighted an issue of overpayment of pensions to retired public sector employees including those in the fire service scheme. This is a complicated issue. In essence, the problem has to do with the Guaranteed Minimum Pension, its calculation, index linking and impact on the individual's Fire Service Pension index linking. Guaranteed Minimum Pensions were provided by public service pension schemes between 1978 and 1997. The problem will not affect any pensioner unless he or she is over State Pension age with service in this period and for whom the fire service have no record of a GMP. It is estimated that a number of pensioners in England and Wales may be affected by this miscalculation. No overpayments are to be recovered but an adjustment will be made to the pensions of those affected in April 2009. To view the National Audit Office Report on errors in the Guaranteed Minimum Pension please use this link NAO report


FIRE SERVICE PENSION AND INDEX LINKING

Fire Service Pensions are currently Index Linked from age 55yrs and are increased in line with the Consumer Price Index. Pensions are uprated each April and the level of increase is determined by CPI in September of the preceding year. The original Retail Price Index used to uprate pensions changed to the CPI in 2010 and was implemented in April 2011. For details of the increases applied see below:

2016 Pension Increase Multiplier Tables
RPI Increases 1948 - 2010

Whilst we are unable to provide any tax advice to individuals, the below links to the technical pages of the HMRC website do contain further useful explanations of the current situation:

Protected Pension Age under 50
Employment after taking benefits
Loss of Protection after Employment Age 50 - 54
Restriction on Employment Age 50 - 54

Any members who feel they may be affected by this, should consider taking their own tax advice.


COURT OF APPEAL DECISION RPI/CPI CHALLENGE

The Court of Appeal has now handed down its decision in relation to the Governments switch to the CPI as the index used to uprate pensions. As you will see the appeal was dismissed.

Court Of Appeal Decision


GUIDANCE AND LINKS


FIREFIGHTERS' PENSION SCHEME - A GUIDE TO BENEFITS

This section includes guidance and commentary on the rules of the FPS. It also contains a consolidated version of the 1992 Order.

Use the links below to open the information required on a new page:

MONTHLY PENSION OVER-PAYMENTS AND UNDER-PAYMENTS:

The following information has been drawn down from the National Association of Retired Police Officers Website, but is pertinent to Retired Firefighters as we both have similar rules governing our pension schemes.

It has come to our notice that throughout England and Wales as Forces outsource their Pension Administrators to external or other providers, a large number of anomalies are arising; which have resulted in them identifying that a number of Pensions have been paid incorrectly, for a variety of reasons. This has led to the Pensioner having been underpaid or overpaid for a number of years. In the event that you have been underpaid, the monies owed should be paid to you as soon as possible; if the Administrator is indicating that you have been overpaid it is important that you DO NOT agree to repay any monies; at least until you have established the exact reason for the overpayment. Most of these overpayments will have been made as a result of 'mistakes' or 'errors' made by the Pension Administrator and in view of that you should follow the course of action as outlined in the below documents.  

COURSE OF ACTION http://www.narpo.org//images/SUGGESTED%20COURSE%20OF%20ACTION.pdf
RECOVERY OF OVERPAYMENTS http://www.narpo.org///images/stories/ip7.pdf
PENSIONS ADVISORY SERVICE ADVICE http://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/pension-problems/making-a-complaint/common-concerns/mistakes-and-overpayments

See more at: http://www.narpo.org/index.php/pensions/police-pensions.html