What happens to your Firefighters’ pension when you die?

Your Scottish Firefighters’ pension offers a number of valuable benefits to your surviving family members when you die. Select from the options below to see the benefits offered by your pension scheme.

Scottish Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2015

Survivor pensions

When you die, a pension will be paid to your surviving spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or child. The amounts payable would depend on whether you are a serving member, your pension is deferred or you’re already receiving a pension from the scheme.

Spouse's or partner's pensions are payable for life. Children can receive a pension from the scheme until they’re 18 – or until they’re 23 if they’re still in full-time education. Children are no longer eligible if they marry, form a civil partnership or take up paid employment. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the firefighter’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life. Full eligibility details are available from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

For serving members, survivor pensions are based on the higher-tier ill-health pension the member would have received if they’d retired on health grounds on the date of their death.

For people who have left the 2015 Scheme, survivor payments are based on the deferred pension entitlement.

For members who already receive a pension from the 2015 Scheme, survivor pensions are based on value of the member’s pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

In each case, the survivors are entitled to the following proportion of the member’s entitlement:

Spouse or partner: half

Single child: quarter

More than one eligible child: half, shared equally between the children

If the spouse or partner is more than 12 years younger than the deceased, the spouse or partner's pension will be reduced by 2.5% for every year (or part year) above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.

If the deceased leaves no eligible spouse or partner but there is an eligible child or children, an additional pension would be paid to the child/children equivalent to that which would have been paid to an eligible spouse or partner. If there is more than one child the additional pension would be divided equally between the children. This pension stops when the children are no longer eligible.

First thirteen weeks’ top up

For the first 13 weeks following death, the spouse's or partner's pension will be topped up to the level of the deceased's pensionable pay (death in service) or the pension in payment (death after pension comes into payment). This top-up does not apply in the case of a deferred pension. 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.

Death grant

Scheme members who are actively paying into their pension when they die in service normally qualify for a death grant equal to three times their pensionable pay.

There are some exceptions to this including taking account of variable working hours. In this case, the death grant is the greater of:

3 x part-time rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death,

or 3 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/qualifying service.

Similarly, if you have a split pension, the death grant would be the greater of:

3 x pensionable pay at date of death, or

3 x pensionable pay based on a proportion of the pensionable pay at the date at which the pension was split and at the date of death.

Although you can nominate who you would like to benefit, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to who will receive the death grant.

Post-retirement five year guarantee

In the event of death within five years of a pension coming into payment, there’s a five year guarantee. This means any balance between pension payments already paid and the total that would have been paid in the first five years of retirement, would be paid as a lump sum.

The method of assessment of this guarantee is to multiply the annual value of your pension (after any reduction for early payment but before commutation) by five, then deduct any lump sum payments and the total amount of pension that’s already been paid. Again, the Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to whom the ‘guaranteed’ portion should be paid but they may take into consideration any person you have specifically nominated.

New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006

Survivor pensions

When you die, a pension will be paid to your surviving spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or child. The amounts payable would depend on whether you are a serving member, your pension is deferred or you’re already receiving a pension from the scheme.

Spouse's or partner's pensions are payable for life. Children can receive a pension from the scheme until they’re 18 – or until they’re 23 if they’re still in full-time education. Children are no longer eligible if they marry, form a civil partnership or take up paid employment. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the firefighter’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life. Full eligibility details are available from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

For serving members, survivor pensions are based on the higher-tier ill-health pension the member would have received if they’d retired on health grounds on the date of their death.

For people who have left the NFPS 2006 Scheme, survivor payments are based on the deferred pension entitlement.

For members who already receive a pension from the NFPS 2006 Scheme, survivor pensions are based on value of the member’s pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

In each case, the survivors are entitled to the following proportion of the member’s entitlement:

Spouse or partner: half

Single child: quarter

More than one eligible child: half, shared equally between the children.

If the spouse or partner is more than 12 years younger than the deceased, the spouse or partner's pension will be reduced by 2.5% for every year (or part year) above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.

If the deceased leaves no eligible spouse or partner but there is an eligible child or children, an additional pension would be paid to the child/children equivalent to that which would have been paid to an eligible spouse or partner. If there is more than one child the additional pension would be divided equally between the children. This pension stops when the children are no longer eligible.

First thirteen weeks’ top up

For the first 13 weeks following death, the spouse's or partner's pension will be topped up to the level of the deceased's pensionable pay (death in service) or the pension in payment (death after pension comes into payment). This top-up does not apply in the case of a deferred pension. 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.

Death grant

Scheme members who are actively paying into their pension when they die in service normally qualify for a death grant equal to three times their pensionable pay.

There are some exceptions to this including taking account of variable working hours. In this case, the death grant is the greater of:

3 x part-time rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death, or

3 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/qualifying service.

Similarly, if you have a split pension, the death grant would be the greater of:

3 x pensionable pay at date of death, or

3 x pensionable pay based on a proportion of the pensionable pay at the date at which the pension was split and at the date of death.

Although you can nominate who you would like to benefit, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to who will receive the death grant.

Post-retirement five year guarantee

In the event of death within five years of a pension coming into payment, there’s a five year guarantee. This means any balance between pension payments already paid and the total that would have been paid in the first five years of retirement, would be paid as a lump sum.

The method of assessment of this guarantee is to multiply the annual value of your pension (after any reduction for early payment but before commutation) by five, then deduct any lump sum payments and the total amount of pension that’s already been paid. Again, the Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to whom the ‘guaranteed’ portion should be paid but they may take into consideration any person you have specifically nominated.

Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 1992

Survivor pensions

When you die, a pension will be paid to your surviving spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or child. The amounts payable would depend on whether you are a serving member, your pension is deferred or you’re already receiving a pension from the scheme.

Spouse's or partner's pensions are payable for life. Children can receive a pension from the scheme until they’re 18 – or until they’re 23 if they’re still in full-time education. Children are no longer eligible if they marry, form a civil partnership or take up paid employment. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the firefighter’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life. Full eligibility details are available from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

For serving members, survivor pensions are based on the lower and higher-tier ill-health pensions the member would have received if they’d retired on health grounds on the date of their death.

For people who have left the FPS 1992 Scheme, survivor payments are based on the deferred pension entitlement.

For members who already receive a pension from the FPS 1992 Scheme, survivor pensions are based on value of the member’s pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

In each case, the survivors are entitled to the following proportion of the member’s entitlement:

Spouse or partner: half

Single child: quarter

More than one eligible child: half, shared equally between the children.

First thirteen weeks’ top up

For the first 13 weeks following death, the spouse's or partner's pension will be topped up to the level of the deceased's pensionable pay (death in service) or the pension in payment (death after pension comes into payment). This top-up does not apply in the case of a deferred pension. 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.

Death grant

Scheme members who are actively paying into their pension when they die in service normally qualify for a death grant equal to two times their pensionable pay.

There are some exceptions to this including taking account of variable working hours. In this case, the death grant is the greater of:

2 x part-time rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death, or

2 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/qualifying service.

Similarly, if you have a split pension, the death grant would be the greater of:

2 x pensionable pay at date of death, or

2 x pensionable pay based on a proportion of the pensionable pay at the date at which the pension was split and at the date of death.

Although you can nominate who you would like to benefit, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to who will receive the death grant.

Retained Firefighters’ Modified Scheme 2006

Survivor pensions

When you die, a pension will be paid to your surviving spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or child. The amounts payable would depend on whether you are a serving member, your pension is deferred or you’re already receiving a pension from the scheme.

Spouse's or partner's pensions are payable for life. Children can receive a pension from the scheme until they’re 18 – or until they’re 23 if they’re still in full-time education. Children are no longer eligible if they marry, form a civil partnership or take up paid employment. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the firefighter’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life. Full eligibility details are available from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

For serving members, survivor pensions are based on the higher-tier ill-health pension the member would have received if they’d retired on health grounds on the date of their death.

For people who have left the Retained Firefighters’ Modified Scheme 2006, survivor payments are based on the deferred pension entitlement.

For members who already receive a pension from the Retained Firefighters’ Modified Scheme 2006, survivor pensions are based on value of the member’s pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

In each case, the survivors are entitled to the following proportion of the member’s entitlement:

Spouse or partner: half

Single child: quarter

More than one eligible child: half, shared equally between the children.

If the spouse or partner is more than 12 years younger than the deceased, the spouse or partner's pension will be reduced by 2.5% for every year (or part year) above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.

If the deceased leaves no eligible spouse or partner but there is an eligible child or children, an additional pension would be paid to the child/children equivalent to that which would have been paid to an eligible spouse or partner, disregarding any age reduction. If there is more than one child the additional pension would be divided equally between the children. This pension stops when the children are no longer eligible.

First thirteen weeks’ top up

For the first 13 weeks following death, the spouse's or partner's pension will be topped up.

If the member dies in service, the top up will bring the level of spouse or partner's pension up to the level of the firefighter's pensionable pay. 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. In the case of death after retirement, or after a pension has been put into payment, the top up brings the level of the spouse or partner's pension up to the weekly rate of pension being received by the retired firefighter at the date of death.

The first thirteen weeks’ top-up does not apply in the case of a deferred pension.

Death grant

Scheme members who are actively paying into their pension when they die in service normally qualify for a death grant. For special firefighter members this would normally be the greater of:

2 x actual pensionable pay at the date of death, expressed as an annual rate, or

2 x a proportion of the pensionable pay of a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role. The proportion would be based on the total pensionable service credited to the special firefighter at the date of death, and their total qualifying service.

Post-retirement five year guarantee

In the event of death after a pension has come into payment, there’s a five year guarantee as long as the member is aged under 75 at the time of their death. This means any balance between pension payments already paid and the total that would have been paid in the first five years of retirement, would be paid as a lump sum.

The method of assessment of this guarantee is to multiply the annual value of your pension (after any reduction for early payment but before commutation) by five, then deduct any lump sum payments and the total amount of pension that’s already been paid. Again, the Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to whom the ‘guaranteed’ portion should be paid but they may take into consideration any person you have specifically nominated.

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