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When you retire you will receive a pension based on your average earnings throughout your career in the fire service and while you were paying into the scheme.

Each year you will earn a pension equal to 1/61.6 of your pensionable pay. So long as you are still paying into the scheme this will be revalued every year in line with increases to national average earnings.

Your pension is normally paid at your normal pension age which is age 60 if you are paying into the scheme.

If you leave the scheme before retiring, you normal pension age will be the same as your State Pension age.

Your normal pension age is simply when you can take your benefits in full but you can retire earlier, with your benefits being reduced in some cases.

The scheme also provides benefits for your dependants if you die in retirement leaving a spouse or child. These pensions ignore any reduction if you took a tax free lump sum when you retired.

You can find out more about benefits payable on death before retirement here.

Your pension

Your pension will be paid to you every month for the rest of your life. It is taxed as earned income. You may be taxed using an emergency tax code to begin with until HM Revenue & Customs send us the correct code to use.

Your pension is index linked as will be increased each year in line with increases in the Consumer Prices Index.

Former members of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (Fire 1992) and the New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (Fire 2006)

Your pension will be made up of two parts:

  1. Your pension earned in the Fire 1992 or Fire 2006 schemes; plus
  2. Your pension earned in the Fire’ 2015 scheme.

Four months before you retire

To help us pay your benefits on time, please ask your employer for a form which you should fill in and send to SPPA four months before you intend to retire.

There are plenty of websites available to help you with your retirement planning. Please take care to ensure any sites you use are legitimate.

Taking a tax free lump sum

You can if you wish give up part of your pension in exchange for a tax free lump sum payment. You will receive £12 of lump sum for every £1 of annual pension given up.

HM Revenue & Customs has set a maximum amount you can take tax free and this is currently 25% of your pension fund. More detailed information about how much you can take will be provided at retirement.

If you choose to take a tax free lump sum it will not reduce any pension payable to your dependants.

Former Fire 1992 members

The tax free lump sum was worked out using slightly differently method and will be made up of two parts:

  1. Your tax free lump sum you choose to take from the Fire 1992 scheme; plus
  2. Your tax free lump sum you choose to take from the 2015 scheme.

Pension payable to your adult dependant

If you die leaving an adult dependant, for the first 13 weeks, they will receive your full pension. This will be paid to your dependent children if you do not leave a spouse or partner. This top up does not apply if you had left the scheme.

After 13 weeks your dependant will receive half your pension for life even if he/she marries, remarries, or forms a civil partnership.

A dependant can be your husband, wife, same sex spouse, registered civil partner or, if you’re not in a legally binding relationship, you can nominate a qualifying partner.

If your adult dependant is more than 12 years younger than you, their pension will be reduced by 2.5% for every year or part year above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.

If you leave adult dependant but there is an eligible child or children, an additional pension will be paid to them.

If no spouse's or partner's pension is payable but a child's pension is due, the top-up would be applied to the child's pension. A spouse's or partner's pension is payable for life.

Children's pensions

One quarter of your own pension will be paid for life. If you leave more than one child they will share half your pension between them.

Children’s pensions are paid for children under the age of 18. Subject to certain conditions, your children can continue to receive their pension until they are 23, if they’re in full time education. Payments may be paid for life if your child is unable to work because of illness or disability that existed at the time of your death.

A higher rate children’s pension will be paid if you die without leaving a surviving spouse, civil partner or nominated partner.

Death within five years of retiring

Your pension is paid to you for life, but if you die within five years of retiring, a payment will be made equal to five times your annual pension less the amount already received.

This can be paid to your nominated partner, spouse, or registered civil partner.

I'm thinking about retiring early

You can retire at any time after your minimum retirement age. This is currently age 55.

We’ve become increasingly aware of fraudulent activity whereby companies are contacting scheme members advising them that they can unlock their pension before age 55.

This is not possible unless you are applying for ill health retirement.

Unless you are applying to retire early due to ill health, your pension will be reduced for early payment if you take it before your normal pension age.

Remember, your normal pension age is 60, unless you leave the scheme before retiring in which case it will be the same as your State Pension age.

Authority initiated early retirement

This may be granted if you’re offered early retirement because of organisational efficiency.

You must be age 55 or over and paying into the scheme to qualify. If you do, you will be able to take the pension you have earned so far in full (without reduction for early payment).

Other options

The scheme offers flexibility for firefighters receive partial retirement benefits from the scheme in certain circumstances.

Related links

Pension scams

Taking Partial Retirement

This allows you to receive the entire pension you have earned in the scheme up to the point of partial retirement. In order to take up this option you must be aged at least 55 at the point of election and be entitled to receive the immediate payment of your benefits in the scheme in relation to that period of service had you left your employment instead.

If you take up the partial retirement option you can continue to build up further benefits in the scheme while you remain working for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Please speak to your employer if you are interested in this option.

I may need to retire due to my ill health

If you are dismissed because of permanent disablement for the performance of the duties of your role may be considered at any age for an ill health pension.

If approved, the benefits you receive will depend on the nature of your illness or disability. You can exchange part of your pension to provide a tax-free lump sum

Lower tier is paid if you’re permanently unable to work as a firefighter but can take on other work. You will receive a pension based on the benefits you have earned so far.

Higher tier is awarded if you have at least five years' qualifying service and you are unable to undertake any other regular employment. Your pension may be increased by an amount equal to the pension you might have built up had you been able to continue working, plus a further 2%.

Applying for ill health early retirement

You should request a form from your employer.

Payment of a pension on the grounds of ill health can only be made following an assessment by SPPA’s independent medical adviser and the agreement of your employer. 

If you leave the fire service because of ill health it doesn’t automatically mean that you qualify for pension payments.

I may delay taking my benefits

You can decide to delay receipt of your fire service pension beyond your normal retirement age if you wish. Your pension would be subject to an “age addition” in respect of the period between the scheme year you reached your normal pension age and the scheme year you claim your benefits.

Further information

A list of useful links can be found here.