Find out what happens to your pension when you stop working for the Fire Service

On this page:

  • What happens to your pension when you leave the Fire Service
  • Preserve your existing pension
  • Transfer your pension to another scheme

Leaving within three months

If you leave within three months of being enrolled into the scheme, your employer will automatically refund any contributions that you have made, less deductions.

Opting out between three months and two years

If you leave between three months and two years, you can: 

  • apply for a refund of contributions, less a deduction for tax 
  • transfer your benefits to another public service pension scheme 
  • defer taking a refund until you’ve decided what you’re doing next (for example, returning to the Fire Service at a future date or re-joining the scheme within five years) 

Get a refund of your contributions

Preserving your benefits

If you contribute to a Scottish Firefighters' pension scheme for more than two years, your benefits will be preserved for you when you leave. This means that any contributions you made will be kept in the pension scheme until you retire.

What you’re entitled to will depend on how long you paid in for and what your salary was at the time. Your pension will still be increased every year in line with the Consumer Price Index.

When can I take my pension?

You can claim your pension in full at your normal pension age. This will be different depending on which Firefighters' pension scheme you paid in to:

  • 1992 Scheme, from age 60
  • 2006 Scheme, from age 65
  • 2015 scheme, from your State Pension age

In most cases, you can choose to retire early and access some of your pension with a reduction from age 55. You can also retire because of ill health.

What happens if I re-join SFRS?

If you have preserved benefits and you’re in SFRS employment, you can re-join the scheme at any time before your normal pension age.

If you have a break in service lasting more than five years, you’ll be placed in the 2015 scheme – even if you were previously a member of the 1992 or 2006 scheme.

Transfer your pension to another scheme

Transfer your pension to another scheme

When you leave the SFRS, you might be able to transfer the value of your pension benefits to another approved pension scheme.

Pension transfers are frequently targeted by criminals. Anyone can be the victim of a pension scam. Please read information provided by the Pensions Regulator before you make a final decision on your pension transfer. 

Transfer time limits 

You must apply for a transfer payment within six months of leaving Scottish Fire and Rescue Service employment or opting out of the SFRS scheme – or within twelve months for transfers to other UK public sector schemes. Time limits may be extended by the Fire authority at their discretion.

Age limits 

1992 Scheme members aren’t able to transfer if they’re within a year of reaching the age of 60. 

2006 Scheme members aren’t able to transfer if they’re within a year of reaching the age of 65. 

2015 Scheme members, 2015 transitional members, must transfer before state pension age. 

Transferring to a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme

To find out if you are able to transfer benefits to a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme, please send the name and type of pension scheme you’re interested in transferring to our transfers team at They’ll then let you know if a transfer is possible – although, these days, overseas transfers are rare and may be subject to a tax charge. Further information on overseas transfers is available here.

Cancelling a transfer 

Once a payment has been sent to your new scheme, the transfer cannot be reversed. If you change your mind during the transfer process, contact SPPA immediately.

How to transfer your pension

Ask your new pension provider about their transfer process and check that they will accept a transfer from the Scottish Firefighters' pension scheme. Your new provider will manage the transfer request for you. 

When we receive a transfer request from the receiving scheme, we’ll check they are eligible and provide a transfer value as quickly as we can. This will be guaranteed for three months. We’ll send the valuation to your new pension provider along with any necessary forms.

Your new provider will tell you what benefits your transfer value will buy in their scheme. At this stage, you should compare the benefits offered by your new provider with those preserved in the Firefighters scheme.

You should also compare the normal retirement age in the Firefighters scheme with your new provider’s normal retirement age as it can sometimes change as a result of the transfer. SPPA can’t give you financial advice, so you may wish to contact an independent financial advisor before transferring your benefits to a new scheme.

Information can be found on The Money and Pensions Service Website.

If you decide to proceed with the transfer, sign the discharge forms and send them to your new scheme so they can request the transfer on your behalf. Once a payment has been sent to your new scheme, transfers cannot be reversed. Make sure you check it against the normal retirement age in your new provider’s scheme.

Contact the SPPA Transfers Team

Write to us

Scottish Public Pensions Agency

7 Tweedside Park




Phone us

01896 893 000 and ask for Transfers when prompted

Email us

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