Ill Health Retirement

A firefighter who has sufficient service to qualify for a pension and who is permanently disabled for the performance of the duties of his/her role may be considered at any age for an ill-health pension. 

There are two tiers of ill-health award –

  • a lower tier award which provides a lower tier ill-health pension based on the formula:

1/60  x  pensionable service  x  final pensionable pay

  • a higher tier award which provides a lower-tier ill-health pension as shown above plus a higher tier ill-health pension based on the formula:

(2% x pensionable service) x prospective pensionable service to age 60 x final pensionable pay/60

The higher tier award is made where the firefighter has at least 5 years' qualifying service and is permanently disabled from undertaking regular employment. 

For example, a firefighter aged 50 who has completed 12 years' service and whose final pensionable pay is £30,000 retires on grounds of ill-health with a lower tier award. He would receive immediate payment of a pension of –

12/60 x £30,000 = £6,000 a year

If, instead, he is given a higher tier ill-health award, the higher tier pension would be:

(2% x 12) x 10 x £30,000/60 = £1,200 a year

In total, the higher tier ill-health award would be –

£6,000 (lower tier pension) + £1,200 (higher tier pension) = £7,200 a year

If a retained firefighter has been a member for 5 years from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2014, he/she will have sufficient service to qualify for a higher tier award regardless of the length of pensionable service to be used in the pension formula. 

The lower tier ill-health pension is based on the formula:

1/60 x pensionable service x final pensionable pay

For a retained firefighter, the lower tier pension would be assessed on similar principles to those used in the assessment of an age or deferred pension. The method of assessment of a higher tier ill-health pension, particularly for a retained firefighter, is a bit more complicated. It is based on a proportion of prospective service, i.e. the service the firefighter will not be able to achieve because of the ill-health retirement. 

This is the formula:

(2% x A) x (A/B x C) x D/60


  • A is the pensionable service accrued in the scheme before ill-health retirement, i.e. assessed on similar principles to the pensionable service used in an age or deferred pension calculation
  • B is qualifying service, i.e. calendar length of scheme membership
  • C is the pensionable service that the firefighter would have accrued from the date of ill-health retirement until normal retirement age (60) had he/she continued to be a contributing member of the scheme as a whole-time regular firefighter
  • D is the final pensionable pay ("reference pay")

For example, if a retained firefighter has been a member of the scheme for 16 years (16 years' qualifying service), has 4 years pensionable service credited up to the date of leaving and – if a whole-time regular firefighter – would have completed a further 12 years' pensionable service by normal retirement age and would have final pensionable pay of £29,501.37, the higher tier ill-health pension would be assessed as –

(2% x 4) x (4/16 x 12) x £29,501.37/60 = £118.01 a year

It would be added to the lower tier ill-health pension to form the higher tier ill-health award.


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