In certain circumstances a benefit payable under the FPS can be reduced or withdrawn.
Benefits may be reduced by an "earmarking" or pension sharing order issued on divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership, annulment or judicial separation – see the Divorce and your pension page.
A fire and rescue authority may withdraw the whole or part of a retired FPS member's pension for any period during which that person is serving as a firefighter with any fire and rescue authority (i.e. on re-employment after retirement) and can abate a pension for the period that a pensioner is employed in any capacity with any fire and rescue authority.
They may also withdraw part or all of a pension, permanently or temporarily, if the person otherwise entitled to the pension has been convicted of an offence –
- of treason, or under the Official Secrets Acts 1911 to 1989 (in the case of a dependant the offence must have been committed after the death of the Scheme member);
- committed in connection with his/her service as an employee of a fire and rescue authority which is certified by the Secretary of State either to have been gravely injurious to the interests of the State or likely to lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service; or
- under section 34(6) of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 (acts or omissions for obtaining awards or other sums).
A pension is not payable to a dependant convicted of the murder of the firefighter from whose pension rights the pension derives; in the case of manslaughter, the fire and rescue authority has discretion to withhold all or part of the pension.
If a person has been receiving an ill-health pension for less than 10 years, and has not reached State Pension Age, the authority must, at such intervals as they think fit, review his/her continuing entitlement to receive the pension. To do this they will consider, with the help of a medical opinion, whether the person has recovered sufficiently to be capable of carrying out any duty appropriate to the role from which he/she was retired on health grounds. If a higher tier ill-health pension is in payment, the authority must also consider if the person has become fit enough to undertake any regular employment.
In the case of a lower tier award, if the person's condition has improved to the point at which he/she could return to his/her role as firefighter and the fire and rescue authority offer such employment, the pension will cease. A person who takes up the employment would have the ill-health pension cancelled but the service upon which it was based would count towards a subsequent pension. If the person refuses the job offered, the ill-health pension would be cancelled and the service upon which it was based would count towards a deferred pension payable, when eligible, under deferred pension rules.
In the case of a higher tier award, if the person is considered fit to return to his/her former role as a firefighter, the position would be as described above (but service counting towards further pension entitlement would not include the higher tier “enhancement”). If not considered fit enough to be a firefighter, but fit enough for regular employment, the lower tier ill-health pension would continue in payment but not the higher tier.
Deferred pensions in payment early on grounds of ill-health must be reviewed too. If the person is found fit for regular employment, payment is suspended until age 65.