The FPS provides valuable life cover and financial protections in the event of your death for your family and loved ones. These could include:
- a lump sum death grant
- a survivor's pension
- a children's pension
If you were to die in service as a member of the FPS, a death grant would be payable. This would normally be three times your pensionable pay as at the date of death. If you were absent from duty without pay at that time, the death grant would be three times your pensionable pay on the last occasion that you received it.
If you are working part-time hours the pensionable pay would be the part-time rate. For someone who has worked variable hours, account would be taken of this. In these circumstances the death grant would be the greater of –
a) 3 x part-time rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death, or
b) 3 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/qualifying service.
In the case of (b), for a retained firefighter the proportion would be based on the total pensionable service credited to him/her at the date of death, and his/her total qualifying service. For example, if a retained firefighter had 5 years 291 days (5.7973 years) of qualifying service (the "calendar" length of scheme membership) of which 1.6915 years counted as pensionable, and a whole-time regular firefighter in an equivalent role would be on an annual rate of pay of £28,000, (b) would be assessed as –
3 x 1.6915/5.7973 x £28,000 = £24,509.00
If the firefighter had a Split Pension (two pension option) the death grant would be the greatest of –
- 3 x pensionable pay at the date of death (if part-time, this would be the part-time rate based on hours at the date of death), or
- 3 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/qualifying service, or
- 3 x pensionable pay based on a proportion of the pensionable pay at the date at which the pension was split and at the date of death.
The fire and rescue authority has absolute discretion as to whom to pay the death grant but you may nominate the person(s) that you would wish to be the recipient(s). The authority would take your wishes into account when making their decision.
Use the Nomination form to express your death grant nomination wishes
A death grant on the above principles would be payable only where a firefighter dies while a serving member of the FPS. But a death grant may also be payable if a former firefighter dies after retirement, having been in receipt of pension payments for less than five years. In these circumstances, the death grant would be equivalent to the total pension that would have been paid for five years less the instalments paid up to the date of death. It is, in effect a five year "guarantee" of pension. Again, the fire and rescue authority has absolute discretion as to whom the death grant should be paid but they may have regard to a nomination made by the firefighter.
If a FPS pensioner member dies having received a pension for less than 5 years after retirement, there would be a post-retirement death grant based on the difference between the amount of pension received and the pension that would have been payable over the 5 year period. Because all the adjustments for variable-time service will have been made at the time of a retained firefighter's retirement, no additional special arrangements are necessary. This would apply also where the pension in payment was a deferred pension, but there is no death grant payable where a deferred pension has not come into payment.
There is no death grant payment in respect of a deferred pension which has not come into payment at the date of death of the firefighter.
In the event of a FPS member's death (whether before or after retirement) a pension will be paid to a surviving spouse, or civil partner, or nominated partner and/or child.
If the deceased was a serving FPS member –
- the spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the higher tier award to which the firefighter would be entitled if he/she had retired on health grounds on the date of death;
- the child's pension would be one quarter of the higher tier ill-health award; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the higher tier award divided between the children.
If the deceased had left the FPS, was entitled to a deferred pension, but that pension had not yet come into payment –
- the spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the deferred pension;
- the child's pension would be one quarter of the deferred pension; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the deferred pension divided between the children.
If the deceased was in receipt of pension from the NFPS at the time of death –
- the spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the deceased's pension*;
- the child's pension would be one quarter of the deceased's pension*; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the deceased's pension* divided between the children. *i.e. the value of the pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation.
Note that if the spouse or partner is more than 12 years younger than the deceased, the spouse or partner's pension as mentioned above in respect of serving, deferred and pensioner members, will be reduced by 2.5% for every year or part year above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.
If the deceased leaves no eligible spouse or partner but there is an eligible child or children, the pension paid to the child/children would be equivalent to that which would have been paid to an eligible spouse or partner. If there is more than one child, the pension would be divided equally between the children. It would stop when the children cease to be eligible.
For the first 13 weeks following death, the spouse or partner will receive a “bereavement pension”. In effect, this tops up their pension to the level of the deceased's pensionable pay (death in service) or pension (death after pension comes into payment).
The calculation of these awards for retained firefighters will have regard to the principles for assessing pensionable service and pensionable pay for firefighters as shown on previous pages, but no other special terms apply.
In the case of death after retirement, or after a deferred pension has been put into payment, for the first 13 weeks after the date of death a short-term "bereavement pension" is payable to the spouse or partner. This brings the level of spouse or partner's pension up to the weekly rate of pension being received by the retired firefighter at the date of death. There are no special provisions here for a retained firefighter – all the relevant adjustments would have been made at the time of retirement.
A bereavement pension is also payable in the event of death in service, for the first 13 weeks after the date of death. This brings the level of spouse or partner's pension up to the level of firefighter's pensionable pay. In the case of a retained firefighter, the pensionable pay for this purpose will be a proportion of that paid to a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role.
The proportion is worked out on similar principles to those used for working out the pensionable pay on which a death grant would be assessed. The retained firefighter in the death grant example had 5 years 291 days of qualifying service (5.7973 years) of which 1.6915 years counted as pensionable service, and the pensionable pay of a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role was £28,000. Using the same details for the bereavement pension, this would mean that for the first 13 weeks following the firefighter's death in service, the weekly rate of the bereavement pension would be –
£28,000/52.2 x 1.6915/5.7973 = £156.51
If no pension is payable to a spouse or partner but a pension is payable to a child or children, they would receive the bereavement pension. (If there is more than one child, the bereavement pension would be divided between them.)
There is no bereavement pension due in the case of a deferred pension which had not come into payment at the date of death.
A spouse's or partner's pension is payable for life, even if he/she marries, remarries, forms a civil partnership or a subsequent civil partnership. Also, there is no difference in treatment according to whether the marriage/partnership commenced before or after the Scheme member's retirement.
A child is eligible to receive a pension if below age 18, or below age 23 and in full-time education. Eligibility ceases on marriage, civil partnership or upon ceasing full-time education and entering remunerated employment, if earlier. A child who is permanently disabled and dependent on the firefighter at the date of death may be entitled to receive a pension for life.
Contact the fire and rescue authority’s pensions administrator if you wish to have more detailed information on any of these points, or would like to discuss your personal circumstances.
Allocation is an option to give up part of your pension at retirement to provide, on your death, a pension for a spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or other dependant. It is an old provision which has carried forward to the FPS from earlier versions of the Scheme even though dependants' benefits have improved from their original levels.
An election to allocate must be given no later than the day before benefits become payable and no earlier than 2 months before. It is subject to medical evidence of good health and normal life expectancy. The amount provided as a pension on allocation depends upon the age and sex of the firefighter and of the nominee.
The fire and rescue authority's pensions administrator can give you a personalised quote before your pension becomes due if you are interested in this option.