Planning for retirement

When you're making a plan for your retirement, it helps to have a good understanding of all your options. Follow our step-by-step guide to make the right choices for your needs.

  1. Work out when you can retire

    To receive the full level of benefits, you'll have to reach the ‘normal pension age’ for your particular scheme (or schemes) before you retire, unless you’re granted ill-health retirement. You can see the rules affecting normal pension age in your scheme below. Remember, you may be a member of more than one scheme.

    Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 1992

    The normal pension age for actively contributing members is 55. You may also retire without any reduction before you're 55 as long as you've reached 30 years’ service in the scheme.

    Additionally, you have an option to retire at 50 with a restricted lump sum if you’ve accrued 25 years’ service in the scheme.

    The normal pension age for deferred members with a preserved pension is 60.

    New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006

    The normal pension age for actively contributing members is 60.

    The normal pension age for deferred members with a preserved pension is 65.

    The Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2015

    The normal pension age for actively contributing members is 60.

    If you're a deferred members with a preserved pension, your normal pension age is the same as your State Pension age.

  2. What about early retirement?

    Voluntary early retirement

    You can retire any time after the minimum retirement age of 55. If you choose voluntary early retirement, your benefits will be reduced to take into account of the fact that your pension could potentially be in payment for a longer period.

    Authority initiated early retirement

    This form of early retirement only applies in the 1992 and 2006 schemes and affects members who are retired in the interests of service efficiency.

    In these circumstances, your pension benefits may be paid immediately upon leaving without reduction. To qualify, you must be aged 55 or over and be paying into the scheme at the time of the organisational change.

    Partial retirement

    Although partial retirement is rarely used, it allows you to continue working part-time while receiving the entire pension you've earned in the scheme up to the point of your 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 the benefits you've accumulated.

  3. Consider how you want to take your pension benefits

    When you're ready to retire, you'll have the opportunity to decide on how you want your pension to be paid. All of the schemes offer a combination of annual pension and a one-off 'pension commencement lump sum' which is paid free of tax. Exchanging annual pension for a lump sum is known as 'pension commutation' and our handy calculator can help you estimate the balance between annual pension and tax-free lump sum that's right for you.

  4. Start your application

    To formally start your retirement process, you'll need to contact your HR department. They'll tell you which application forms you'll need to complete and let you know about any other issues you may need to consider. Once complete, they'll forward us everything we'll need to calculate your pension benefits. Please allow up to three months for us to process your retirement award.

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