Unlike the pensions which generally reflect the age and/or grounds for retirement, the two pension option is a device to protect the final salary benefits of a firefighter who has a reduction in pensionable pay.
In the event of such a reduction, the pension rights accrued up to the date of leaving would be assessed as if a deferred pension, and a second pension would start to accrue from the following day.
When the firefighter eventually leaves in circumstances where the second pension becomes payable, the first pension would be payable too.
Alternatively, the firefighter could choose to add the service upon which the first pension would be based, to the service upon which the second service is based and have a single pension calculated on the second period's final pensionable pay.
This could be the best option if pensionable pay in the second period now exceeds pensionable pay for the first (allowing for inflation).
Part of split pensions can be ‘commuted’ to provide a lump sum.
Firefighters should also be aware that they are able to cancel the split pension award at any time before leaving employment by sending written notification to Avon Fire Authority and to instruct them to pay a single award, and if they opt out of the pension scheme the split pension entitlement is lost.