The Firefighters Pension Scheme. A Guide To Death Benefits

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1 APPENDIX B The Firefighters Pension Scheme A Guide To Death Benefits This issue reflects the Scheme rules at 1 October 2001 Written by Eunice Heaney, Pensions Adviser Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Fire Authority Copyright Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Fire Authority 2001 PER9PT4S1 AB-1 12/01

2 THE FIREFIGHTERS PENSION SCHEME A Guide to Death Benefits This booklet is a partner to The Firefighters Pension Scheme: A Guide To Personal Benefits but, because of the complex nature of the subject, you will find the format quite different. As soon as you look at the text you will see that the death benefits offered by the Firefighters Pension Scheme come in many permutations depending upon the circumstances of death, the type and number of dependants, marital status, earnings and service. Because of all the factors that have to be taken into account, it is not until death occurs that a positive statement of benefits can be made. Before then, everything is hypothetical. So treat the booklet as a What if...? source of reference rather than attempting to read it from cover to cover at one sitting. The benefits apply equally to the spouses of both male and female firefighters unless the text indicates otherwise. Any differences are usually the result of the effect of State Pension Scheme legislation (e.g. State pension age). It would be useful to have the Guide to Personal Benefits at your side when reading this booklet because, to avoid unnecessary repetition on certain points, cross-references are made. The Guide can offer only a summary of the rules and nothing in it can override pensions legislation. This version reflects the Scheme rules at the date shown overleaf. Firefighters appointed before this date may be covered by earlier rules. There are references in the text indicating where the longerserving firefighter could have different pension arrangements. If you need more details contact your fire authority s pensions administrator at the address given at the back of the booklet. This is especially important if you were a firefighter before 1 April The level of spouse s and children s benefits before that date reflect the wishes of the firefighter and so will vary. PER9PT4S1 AB-2 12/01

3 CONTENTS PART ONE Lump Sum Death Grant 5 page PART TWO Widow(er) s Benefits 1. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Temporary Pension Only 2. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension 3. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Special Award 4. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Augmented Award 5. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Accrued Pension 6. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Pension Where Firefighter Living Apart From Spouse 7. Death In Service: Widow(er) s Commuted Pension 8. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension 9. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Special Award 10. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Augmented Award 11. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Accrued Pension 12. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Pension Where Firefighter Marries After Retirement 13. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Pension Where Firefighter Living Apart From Spouse 14. Death After Retirement: Widow(er) s Commuted Pension PART THREE Children s Benefits 1. Child s Ordinary Allowance 2. Child s Special Allowance 3. Child s Special Gratuity 4. Child s Accrued Allowance 5. Child s Commuted Allowance PART FOUR Dependent Relative s Benefits 1. Adult Dependent Relative s Special Pension 2. Dependent Relative s Gratuity PART FIVE Payments To E 39 PART SIX Allocated Pension 41 PART SEVEN The Effect Of Divorce On Death Benefits 43 EXPLANATION OF TERMS USED IN THIS GUIDE The Meaning Of Certain Words And Expressions 47 WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DEATH BENEFITS? Contact Address For Pension Enquiries 48 PER9PT4S1 AB-3 12/01

4 PART ONE LUMP SUM DEATH GRANT PER9PT4S1 AB-4 12/01

5 LUMP SUM DEATH GRANT Circumstances of payment A lump sum death grant is paid in respect of a serving firefighter who dies, regardless of length of service and whether or not on duty. If the firefighter is married, the lump sum would be paid to his or her legal spouse provided they were not living apart at the time of death. (For this purpose, living apart means more than a physical separation it implies recognition by at least one of the spouses that the marriage is at an end.) If the firefighter is unmarried or living apart from his or her spouse at the time of death, then the lump sum would be payable to his or her personal representatives, i.e. it forms part of the estate of the deceased. For an explanation of procedures in these circumstances see Part Five of this Guide Payments To Estate. In the event of divorce, a court may issue an earmarking order to a fire authority. Such an order may require the authority to pay part or all of the death grant to a former spouse, rather than to the current spouse or personal representatives. If, instead, the court has issued a pension sharing order, the death grant would be paid to the current spouse or estate in accordance with normal principles. The terms of payment of a death grant are not affected by pension sharing orders. See Part Seven of this Guide The Effect Of Divorce On Death Benefits. Optant-out provision A lump sum death grant would not be paid in the case of a firefighter who has opted out of the Firefighters Pension Scheme. Method of calculation The death grant is calculated as 2 x firefighter s annual rate of pensionable pay at date of death Pensionable pay is explained in detail in the Guide To Personal Benefits in the section How Much Do I Pay? but, briefly, it is the pay appropriate to the rank or post held by the firefighter and on which he or she pays contributions. If, at the date of death, the firefighter were absent from duty without pay, then the pensionable pay would be the annual rate immediately before the absence began. If other death benefits are payable (e.g. benefits for dependants or a return of contributions to the firefighter s estate) they do not affect the entitlement to, or calculation of, a death grant. EXAMPLE: Death Grant A firefighter, married (not living separately), dies off duty in an accident unrelated to the fire service. Her annual rate of pensionable pay at the time of death is 25,000. LUMP SUM DEATH GRANT: 2 x 25, = 50, This would be paid to her widower in addition to his Widower s Ordinary Pension. PER9PT4S1 AB-5 12/01

6 PART TWO WIDOW(ER) S BENEFITS PER9PT4S1 AB-6 12/01

7 WIDOW(ER) S BENEFITS Background There are various types of widow(er) s benefit provided by the Firefighters Pension Scheme. The type payable will depend upon the circumstances of death whether the death occurs in service or after retirement/leaving the length of the firefighter s service the date of marriage and marital situation at death. For firefighters who were serving before 1 April 1972, the amount of benefit payable may be less than indicated in this Guide and could depend upon personal choice. Before 1966 a firefighter s service attracted a flat-rate widow s pension; from 1966 a firefighter could pay a higher contribution rate for a third rate widow s pension (i.e. one third of the firefighter s pension); from 1972 a firefighter s service attracted a half-rate widow s pension (i.e. one half of the firefighter s pension). The firefighter also had an option to pay extra contributions, or pay a lump sum, or take a reduction in his own pension in order to increase the level of widow s benefits where improvements were not retrospective. This means that over the years there have been a number of different permutations of calculation method. If you have service before April 1972 you should check your death benefit cover with your fire authority s pensions administrator. This booklet reflects death benefit provisions as they apply from 1 April 1972 only. Even if you do not have service before 1972 but would like further information about death benefits in your own personal circumstances, again your pensions administrator can help. Rights of appeal A widow(er) dissatisfied with the fire authority s decision (or failure to make a decision) as to the type or amount of award, has a right of appeal under Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures and to Crown Court (Sheriff in Scotland). OPAS (the Pensions Advisory Service), Opra (the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority), and the Pensions Ombudsman may also be approached by a beneficiary. A more detailed explanation of appeal routes is given in the section I m Not Happy About This Can I Appeal? in the Guide To Personal Benefits. In the first instance, however, problems should be discussed with the authority s pensions administrator. Points to note about widow(er) s benefits Widow(er) s benefits are provided only for the person to whom the firefighter is legally married at the time of death. No provision is made for a widow(er) s pension for any other partner, but remember that he or she may be entitled to an allocated pension in limited circumstances (see Allocation in the Guide To Personal Benefits, and Part Six of this Guide). In the case of marriage after retirement, widow(er) s benefits would be based on service after 5 April 1978 only. Widow(er) s benefits are not payable to a divorced wife or husband. If husband and wife separate, but do not divorce, the award drops to the level of a requisite benefit or the level of any maintenance payments if greater (although the fire authority may exercise their discretion to increase these benefits to the sums which would have been payable had there been no separation). These benefits are explained in the examples which follow. The same benefits continue to apply at the decree nisi stage of divorce. It is not until the decree absolute is issued that the marriage is terminated and widow(er) s benefits cease to be applicable. PER9PT4S1 AB-7 12/01

8 If, on divorce, an earmarking order is issued by the court, widow(er) s benefits for any future spouse are not affected. If, however, the court issues a pension sharing order then, unless injury-based, the widow(er) s benefits for a future spouse may be reduced in line with the firefighter s own benefits, see Part Seven of this Guide The Effect Of Divorce On Death Benefits. Comparisons are made under contracting-out rules with the Widow(er) s Guaranteed Minimum Pension. These rules are explained in Inter-Relationship With The State Pension Scheme in the Guide To Personal Benefits. Where a widow(er) s pension is calculated by reference to a firefighter s actual or notional pension, this is the full pension before reduction for commutation, allocation or National Insurance modification. For example, if a male firefighter had his pension assessed as 12,000 p.a. but commuted 3,000 and had a reduction of 17 p.a. in respect of National Insurance modification he would be entitled to receive 8,983 p.a. However, the half-rate widow s pension would be assessed on half of 12,000, not half of 8,983. Also ignored in the assessment is any Pensions Increase added to the firefighter s pension (explained in Will My Pension Increase At All? in the Guide to Personal Benefits). The widow(er) s pension is based on a proportion of the basic firefighter s pension before Pensions Increase. Then the widow(er) s pension itself has increases applied to it (at the same percentage rate as applied to the firefighter s pension). Payment of a widow(er) s pension is usually made from the date of death unless the firefighter had received a pension payment (in advance) covering a period after death. The widow(er) s pension is paid in advance and subject to the same payment conditions as the firefighter s pension (see How Will I Be Paid? in the Guide To Personal Benefits). A gratuity is normally paid in a single sum unless the fire authority are satisfied that it would be to the advantage of the beneficiary to have it paid in instalments. A temporary 13-week payment of the firefighter s pay or pension must take into account both the widow(er) s and children s benefits. The payment normally consists of the widow(er) s and children s pensions plus a topping-up element bringing the total payment up to the level of the firefighter s pay or pension. A widow(er) s pension ceases on re-marriage, but not co-habitation. If a widow(er) remarries after State Pension Age, however, the Guaranteed Minimum Pension element of his/her pension continues in payment. If a fire pensioner remarries the person to whom he or she was married at retirement, and subsequently divorced, the spouse would again have full cover for widow(er) s benefits. In very exceptional circumstances, forfeiture provisions could apply to a widow(er) s pension as outlined in Can I Lose My Pension? in the Guide To Personal Benefits. Types of benefit and examples On the following pages you will find a description and example of all the current types of widow(er) s benefit. These are Death In Service Death After Retirement 1. Widow(er) s Temporary Pension Only 2. Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension 3. Widow(er) s Special Award 4. Widow(er) s Augmented Pension 5. Widow(er) s Accrued Pension 6. Widow(er) s Pension Where Firefighter Living Apart From Spouse 7. Widow(er) s Commuted Pension 8. Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension 9. Widow(er) s Special Award 10. Widow(er) s Augmented Award 11. Widow(er) s Accrued Pension 12. Widow(er) s Pension Where Firefighter Marries After Retirement 13. Widow(er) s Pension Where Firefighter Living Apart From Spouse 14. Widow(er) s Commuted Pension PER9PT4S1 AB-8 12/01

9 1. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S TEMPORARY PENSION ONLY Circumstances of payment Payable where the firefighter has less than 3 years pensionable service, dies on or off duty, and not from the effects of a qualifying injury. Optant-out provision If an optant-out has no pensionable service this pension would not be payable; if he/she has some pensionable service but less than 2 years then this pension would be payable; if he/she has 2 or more years of service then it would not be this pension but a Widow(er) s Accrued Pension which would be due see later in this Part of the Guide. Method of calculation PENSION: LUMP SUM GRATUITY: 13 weeks of firefighter s PP 1 x firefighter s APP EXAMPLE: Death In Service Widow(er) s Temporary Pension Service = 2 years; PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17, PENSION: 13 weeks at 18, p.a. then ceases LUMP SUM single payment of 1 x 17, GRATUITY: PER9PT4S1 AB-9 12/01

10 2. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S ORDINARY PENSION Circumstances of payment Payable where the firefighter has 3 or more years pensionable service, dies on or off duty, and not from the effects of a qualifying injury. Optant-out provision This is not payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation Normally: (a) PENSION 13 weeks of firefighter s PP ONLY: then 1/2 of firefighter s notional ill-health pension or, by widow(er) s election within 3 months after death: (b) PENSION: 13 weeks of firefighter s PP then 75% x 1/2 of firefighter s notional ill-health pension LUMP SUM greater of GRATUITY: 1 x firefighter s APP or 6 x 75% x 1/2 of firefighter s notional ill-health pension EXAMPLE: Death In Service Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension Service = 21 years; PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17,400.00; Ill-health enhancement = 7/60ths Normally: (a) PENSION 13 weeks at 18, p.a. ONLY: then 1/2 x [ 20 + (2 x 1) + 7 x 17,400.00] = 4, p.a. 60 or, by election: (b) PENSION: 13 weeks at 18,000 p.a. then 75% x 4, = 3, p.a. LUMP SUM greater of GRATUITY: 1 x 17, = 17, or 6 x 3, = 18, therefore Gratuity = 18, PER9PT4S1 AB-10 12/01

11 3. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S SPECIAL AWARD Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of length of service, where the firefighter dies from the effects of a qualifying injury. Optant-out provision This is payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation PENSION: 13 weeks of firefighter s PP then 45% of firefighter s APP LUMP SUM 25% of firefighter s APP GRATUITY: plus greater of 1 x firefighter s APP or 2 ¼ x firefighter s notional ill-health pension EXAMPLE: Death In Service Widow(er) s Special Award Service = 21 years; PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17,400.00; Ill-health enhancement = 7/60ths PENSION: 13 weeks at 18, p.a. Then 45% x 17, = 7, p.a. LUMP SUM 25% x 17, = 4, GRATUITY: plus greater of 1 x 17, = 17, or 2 ¼ x [ 20 + (2 x 1) + 7 x 17,400.00] = 18, therefore Gratuity = 23, PER9PT4S1 AB-11 12/01

12 4. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S AUGMENTED AWARD Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of length of service, where the firefighter s death was caused by a qualifying injury received in the execution of duties performed for the immediate purpose of saving or preventing the loss of human life, where there was an intrinsic likelihood that the firefighter would receive a fatal injury. Also payable where the fire authority are of the opinion that these conditions may have been satisfied or that an injury was received in circumstances where it would be inequitable not to pay the award. Optant-out provision This is payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation PENSION: 13 weeks of firefighter s PP then 50% of firefighter s APP LUMP SUM 2 x current PP of London firefighter who can reckon 30 years service GRATUITY: or, if greater, the gratuity payable for a Widow(er) s Special Award EXAMPLE: Death In Service Widow(er) s Augmented Award Service = 21 years; PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17,400.00; PP of London firefighter with 30 years service = 18,900.00; Special Award Gratuity = 23, PENSION: 13 weeks at 18, p.a. then 50% x 17, = 8, p.a. LUMP SUM greater of GRATUITY: 2 x 18, = 37, or Widow(er) s Special Award Gratuity = 23, therefore Gratuity = 37, PER9PT4S1 AB-12 12/01

13 5. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S ACCRUED PENSION Circumstances of payment Payable where the firefighter has opted out of the Pension Scheme, has entitlement to a deferred pension (2 or more years service) and dies on or off duty but not from the effect of a qualifying injury. (The Guide To Personal Benefits explains deferred benefits in What If I Choose To Leave My Brigade Before I Can Get A Pension? ) Optant-out provision This applies in respect of optants-out only (subject to the optant-out having entitlement to a deferred pension). Method of calculation PENSION 13 weeks of firefighter s PP ONLY: then 1/2 of firefighter s deferred pension EXAMPLE: Death In Service Widow(er) s Accrued Pension Service = 23 years; PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17,400.00; Firefighter could have achieved 30 years of pensionable service by compulsory retirement age had he not opted out of the Pension Scheme PENSION 13 weeks at 18, p.a. ONLY: then 1/2 x 23 x 40 x 17, = 4, p.a PER9PT4S1 AB-13 12/01

14 6. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S PENSION WHERE FIREFIGHTER LIVING APART FROM SPOUSE Circumstances of payment Payable where at the time of the firefighter s death (under any circumstances) husband and wife, although still married, were living apart because of a breakdown of the marriage. Once, no spouse s pension would have been paid in these circumstances. When the Scheme contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme it had to provide a spouse s pension where a marriage had not ended. The date of contracting-out was 6 April 1978 and service from that date attracts a requisite benefit pension for the firefighter s widow(er). Optant-out provision This applies in respect of an optant-out if eligibility for a widow(er) s pension exists. Method of calculation PENSION: pensionable service after x 1/160 x firefighter s APP If a greater pension ( full pension ) would be payable if husband and wife were not living apart, then the requisite benefit pension shown above must be increased to the level of any maintenance contributions the firefighter was paying or liable to pay at date of death for the support of spouse and/or child; but if maintenance payments are greater than the full pension, then the increase is limited to the amount of full pension may be increased at the discretion of the fire authority to the full pension (whether or not maintenance payments are being made). LUMP SUM GRATUITY: Nil, unless, if still living with the firefighter, the spouse would have been entitled to a gratuity in which case it is payable in part or in full at the fire authority s discretion. EXAMPLE: Death In Service Firefighter Living Apart From Spouse Service = 21 years after ; PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17,400.00; Maintenance = 4, p.a. Death in service resulted from a qualifying injury and, if not living separately at the date of death, the firefighter s widow would have been entitled to a pension of 7, p.a. and gratuity of 23, The requisite benefit would be PENSION 21 x 1 x 17, = 2, p.a. ONLY: 160 but this must be increased to the level of the maintenance payments, therefore PENSION ONLY: 4, p.a. At the discretion of the fire authority the benefits may be increased to the full award PENSION: then 7, p.a. 13 weeks at 18, p.a. LUMP SUM 23, GRATUITY: PER9PT4S1 AB-14 12/01

15 7. DEATH IN SERVICE: WIDOW(ER) S 8. COMMUTED PENSION Circumstances of payment This is most likely to be paid where both the fire authority and the widow(er) feel it would be better to pay a single lump sum rather than regular instalments of a very small pension. The terms of commutation for a widow differ from those for a widower. If a widow s pension plus Pensions Increase is less than a prescribed amount ( 260 at time of writing) a fire authority may, at its discretion, commute it to a lump sum gratuity. If the pension is greater than the prescribed amount but it is an Ordinary or Special Award, and it is greater than the widow s Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP), and her husband died before age 65, and the fire authority are satisfied there are sufficient reasons, and the widow consents then the pension in excess of the GMP can be commuted for a gratuity. If a widower is entitled to an Ordinary Pension or a Special Award and the fire authority are satisfied there are sufficient reasons, and the widower consents then the pension can be commuted for a gratuity. Optant-out provision This can apply in respect of an optant-out if there is entitlement to a pension. Method of calculation PENSION: any remaining balance of uncommuted annual pension LUMP SUM either GRATUITY: the amount of annual pension commuted x 11 (widows only) or by agreement between the fire authority and the widow(er), a greater amount not exceeding the capitalised value of the pension as assessed by the Government Actuary. EXAMPLE: Death In Service Widow(er) s Commuted Pension A Widow s Ordinary Pension of 200 is payable. There is no widow s GMP. PENSION: Nil LUMP SUM either GRATUITY: 11 x = 2, Or by agreement between the fire authority and the widow(er), a greater amount not exceeding the capitalised value of the pension as assessed by the Government Actuary. PER9PT4S1 AB-15 12/01

16 8. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S ORDINARY PENSION Circumstances of payment Payable where the firefighter had retired with any type of pension (including an injury pension) other than a deferred pension, and the death does not result from a qualifying injury. It is also payable in less common circumstances where, before 6 April 1988, a firefighter with 3 or more but less than 5 years pensionable service retired with an ill-health gratuity (not subsequently repaid by the firefighter) but in this case the 13 weeks payment would not apply and the widow(er) s pension would be based on the firefighter s notional ill-health pension. Optant-out provision This does not apply in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation PENSION 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension (including any Pensions Increase) ONLY: then 1/2 of firefighter s pension Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension Firefighter s pension before deductions for allocation, commutation and National Insurance modification = 12,000 PENSION 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension at death ONLY: then 1/2 x 12, = 6, p.a. PER9PT4S1 AB-16 12/01

17 9. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S SPECIAL AWARD Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of length of service and type of retirement pension, where the firefighter dies from the effects of a qualifying injury. Optant-out provision This is payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation PENSION: 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension at death (including any Pensions Increase)* then 45% of firefighter s APP LUMP SUM GRATUITY: 25% of firefighter s APP less, if retired on injury grounds, a sum equal to the firefighter s injury gratuity * This is applicable only if the firefighter s own pension (including Pensions Increase) would be greater than the Widow(er) s Special Award pension (plus Pensions Increase). In some circumstances, for example where the firefighter did not retire on injury grounds and did not have a great deal of pensionable service, the Widow(er) s Special Award pension could be greater than the firefighter s own pension. The 13 week top-up would not, therefore, apply. Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension and gratuity. EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Widow(er) s Special Award Firefighter dies after retirement from the effects of a qualifying injury. He retired with an injury pension of 4, p.a. and injury gratuity of 6, based on APP of 17, He also received an ill-health pension of 6, p.a. At the date of death he was receiving 15, p.a. in total, i.e. 4, plus 6, plus Pensions Increase. PENSION: 13 weeks at 15, p.a. then 45% x 17, = 7, p.a. LUMP SUM 25% x 17, = 4, GRATUITY: less firefighter s Gratuity = 6, therefore widow(er) s Gratuity = Nil PER9PT4S1 AB-17 12/01

18 10. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S AUGMENTED AWARD Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of type of retirement pension, where the firefighter s death was caused by a qualifying injury received in the execution of duties performed for the immediate purpose of saving or preventing the loss of human life, where there was an intrinsic likelihood that the firefighter would receive a fatal injury. Also payable where the fire authority are of the opinion that these conditions may have been satisfied or that an injury was received in circumstances where it would be inequitable not to pay this award. Optant-out provision This is payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation PENSION: 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension at death (including any Pensions Increase)* then 50% of firefighter s APP LUMP SUM 2 x current PP of London firefighter who can reckon 30 years service GRATUITY: or, if greater, the gratuity paid for a Widow(er) s Special Award * This is applicable only if the firefighter s own pension (including Pensions Increase) would be greater than the Widow(er) s Augmented Award pension (plus Pensions Increase). In some circumstances, for example where the firefighter did not retire on injury grounds and did not have a great deal of pensionable service, the Widow(er) s Augmented Award pension could be greater than the firefighter s own pension. The 13 week top-up would not, therefore, apply. Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension and gratuity. EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Widow(er) s Augmented Award Firefighter dies after retirement in augmented award circumstances. He had recently retired with an injury pension of 4, p.a. and an injury gratuity of 6, based on APP of 17, He also received an ill-health pension of 6, p.a. No PI was payable at date of death. The PP of a London firefighter with 30 years service is 18,900 p.a. If circumstances had not created eligibility for an augmented award, the widow(er) s special award gratuity would be 4, However, this would have been cancelled out by the firefighter s own receipt of an injury gratuity of 6, PENSION: 13 weeks at 4, , = 10, p.a. then 50% x 17, = 8, p.a. LUMP SUM greater of GRATUITY: 2 x 18, = 37, or Special Award Gratuity = Nil therefore widow(er) s Gratuity = 37, PER9PT4S1 AB-18 12/01

19 11. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S ACCRUED PENSION Circumstances of payment Payable where death is unrelated to a qualifying injury and the firefighter had entitlement to a deferred pension either through leaving the fire service or through opting-out, whether or not the pension had come into payment at the date of death (for an explanation of deferred benefits see What If I Choose To Leave My Brigade Before I Can Get A Pension? in the Guide To Personal Benefits). If the deferred pension had been completely commuted to a lump sum (because very small) there would still be eligibility for a widow(er) s pension. Optant-out provision This does apply in respect of an optant-out (subject to the optant-out having entitlement to a deferred pension). It is the standard, non-injury-related, widow(er) s pension for the spouse of an optant-out with deferred benefits. Method of calculation If the deferred pension is not yet in payment: PENSION ONLY: 1/2 of firefighter s deferred pension Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension. If the deferred pension is in payment: PENSION 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension payable at death (including any Pensions ONLY: Increase) then 1/2 of firefighter s pension Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension. EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Widow(er) s Accrued Pension Firefighter had 15 years service at date of leaving the fire service. Her APP at that time was 17, She could have achieved 30 years service if she had remained in service to normal retiring age. The pension was not in payment at date of death. PENSION 1/2 x [15 x 40 x 17,400.00] = 2, p.a. ONLY: PER9PT4S1 AB-19 12/01

20 12. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S PENSION WHERE FIREFIGHTER MARRIES AFTER RETIREMENT Circumstances of payment Payable where the firefighter marries after retirement. (Other categories of widow(er) s benefits are payable only to the person to whom the firefighter was legally married on the last day of service and to whom the firefighter is still legally married at date of death.) Optant-out provision This applies in respect of an optant-out if eligibility for a widow(er) s pension exists. Method of calculation PENSION 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension, if in payment, (including any Pensions ONLY: Increase) then, greater of pensionable service after x 1/160 x firefighter s APP or 1/2 x service after x firefighter s pension or notional pension* total pensionable service Pension payable if marriage had not taken place after retirement a Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension a Widow(er) s Special or Augmented Award a Widow(er) s Accrued Pension Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension. *Notional pension to be used in calculation the firefighter s Ordinary Pension the firefighter s Ill-Health Pension the firefighter s Deferred Pension EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Marriage After Retirement Firefighter s Ordinary Pension was 10,000 p.a. based on 30 years of service of which 18 were after APP = 15,000. PENSION 13 weeks at rate of firefighter s pension ONLY: then, greater of x 1 x 15, = 1, or 1/2 x 18 x 10, = 3, therefore Pension = 3, p.a. PER9PT4S1 AB-20 12/01

21 13. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S PENSION WHERE FIREFIGHTER LIVING APART FROM SPOUSE Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of type of retirement pension, where at the date of death (under any circumstances) husband and wife, although still married, were living apart because of a breakdown of the marriage. Once, no spouse s pension would have been paid in these circumstances. When the Firefighters Pension Scheme contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme it had to provide a spouse s pension where a marriage had not ended. The date of contracting-out was 6 April 1978 and service from that date attracts a requisite benefit pension for the firefighter s widow(er). Optant-out provision This applies in respect of an optant-out if eligibility for a widow(er) s pension exists. Method of calculation PENSION: pensionable service after x 1/160 x firefighter s APP If a greater pension ( full pension ) would be payable if husband and wife were not living apart, then the requisite benefit pension shown above must be increased to the level of any maintenance contributions the firefighter was paying or liable to pay at date of death for the support of spouse and/or child; if maintenance payments are greater than the full pension, then the increase is limited to the amount of full pension may be increased at the discretion of the fire authority to the full pension (whether or not maintenance payments are being made). LUMP SUM GRATUITY: Nil, unless, if still living with the firefighter, the spouse would have been entitled to a gratuity in which case it is payable in part or in full at the fire authority s discretion. Pensions Increase, if relevant, will be added to the pension and gratuity. EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Firefighter Living Apart From Spouse Service = 21 years after ; APP = 17,400.00; Maintenance = 4,000 p.a. Death not associated with qualifying injury. Widow s Ordinary Pension if not living separately = 10,000 p.a. Six months before firefighter s death, his wife had left him to live with another man. The requisite benefit would be PENSION 21 x 1 x 17, = 2, p.a. ONLY: 160 but this must be increased to the level of the maintenance payments, therefore PENSION ONLY: 4, p.a. Fire authority choose not to exercise their discretion to increase the level of benefit. PER9PT4S1 AB-21 12/01

22 14. DEATH AFTER RETIREMENT: WIDOW(ER) S COMMUTED PENSION Circumstances of payment This is most likely to be paid where both the fire authority and the widow(er) feel it would be better to pay a single lump sum rather than regular instalments of a very small pension. The terms of commutation for a widow differ from those for a widower. If a widow s pension plus Pensions Increase is less than a prescribed amount ( 260 at time of writing) a fire authority may, at its discretion, commute it to a lump sum gratuity. If the pension is greater than the prescribed amount but it is an Ordinary or Special Award, and it is greater than the widow s Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP), and her husband died before age 65, and the fire authority are satisfied there are sufficient reasons, and the widow consents then the pension in excess of the GMP can be commuted for a gratuity. If a widower is entitled to an Ordinary Pension or a Special Award, and the fire authority are satisfied there are sufficient reasons, and the widower consents then the pension can be commuted for a gratuity. Before the pension can be commuted in the case of both widows and widowers, the fire authority may need to check with the Government Actuary that certain other actuarial limits are not being exceeded. Optant-out provision This can apply in respect of an optant-out if there is entitlement to a pension. Method of calculation PENSION: any remaining balance of uncommuted annual pension LUMP SUM either GRATUITY: the amount of annual pension commuted x 11 (widows only) or by agreement between the fire authority and the widow(er), a greater amount not exceeding the capitalised value of the pension as assessed by the Government Actuary. EXAMPLE: Death After Retirement Widow(er) s Commuted Pension A Widower s Ordinary Pension of 150 is payable, all to be commuted PENSION: LUMP SUM GRATUITY: Nil An amount not exceeding the Government Actuary s figure representing the capital value of the pension PER9PT4S1 AB-22 12/01

23 PART THREE CHILDREN S BENEFITS PER9PT4S1 AB-23 12/01

24 CHILDREN S BENEFITS Background To receive a benefit on the death of a firefighter, a child must satisfy the conditions of dependency and age. As regards dependency, the child must be a child of the firefighter s marriage (provided the marriage took place on or before the last day of service), or an adopted child (provided the adoption took place on or before the last day of service), or a step-child (provided marriage to the child s parent took place on or before the last day of service and the child was substantially dependent on the firefighter), or any other child (legitimate or illegitimate) provided the child was substantially dependant on the firefighter both at the last day of service and at the date of death (if different). As regards age, eligibility for payment of a child s allowance (pension) or gratuity is established as follows AGE* OF CHILD CHILD S ALLOWANCE CHILD S SPECIAL GRATUITY Under 16 Payable in all cases. Payable in all cases. 16 to under 17 Payable in all cases except where in full-time employment unless this is full-time vocational training of at least one year s duration. Payable in all cases. 17 to under 19 Payable only where: (a) in full-time education or full-time vocational training, or (b) permanently disabled, and substantially dependent on the firefighter at date of death, or Payable only where: (a) in full-time education or fulltime vocational training, or (b) both permanently disabled and substantially dependent on the firefighter. became permanently disabled while receiving allowance, or fire authority exercise their discretion to allow payment. 19 or over Payable as for 17 to under 19 age group except, if education or vocational training has not been continuous since before age 19, any entitlement under (a) is at the discretion of the fire authority. Payable as for 17 to under 19 age group. * In the case of an allowance, this means the age at or after the date of the firefighter s death; in the case of a special gratuity, it means the age before the date of the firefighter s death. PER9PT4S1 AB-24 12/01

25 As with widow(er) s benefits, the type of award reflects the circumstances in which the firefighter died and whether or not death occurs in service or after retirement. Two more factors taken into account are (a) whether or not the firefighter was the child s sole surviving parent, and (b) the number of eligible children. In respect of (a), the fire authority when calculating the award must take note of whether or not the child s other parent is still alive. For example, if a male firefighter dies leaving one child and the child s mother is still alive, the child s ordinary allowance would be 18.75% of the father s pension. If, however, the child s mother had also died, then the rate of allowance payable would be 25% of the father s pension. In respect of (b), there is an upper limit to the pension-related total amount of child s allowance. For example, in some circumstances, 25% of the firefighter s pension can be paid per child up to a limit of 50%. So if there are no more than two children each child will receive 25%. If there are more than two children, however, the total payable would not increase and so each individual would receive less. The division between five children, for example, would be 10% each. As with widow(er) s benefits, for firefighters who were serving before 1 April 1972 the amount of benefit may be less than indicated in this booklet and could depend upon personal choice. This booklet reflects post 1972 death benefit provisions only. If you have service before 1 April 1972 or would like more information about entitlement to children s benefits in relation to your own personal circumstances, then you should contact your fire authority s pensions administrator. Rights of appeal If dissatisfied with the fire authority s decision (or failure to make a decision) regarding an award, the child or his/her guardian will have similar rights of appeal as those outlined in the points to note about widow(er) s benefits. In the first instance, however, problems should be discussed with the authority s pensions administrator. Points to note about children s benefits In the case of death in service, children qualify for allowances however short the firefighter s service (compare with the three years necessary for a Widow(er) s Ordinary Pension). Also, allowances are based on a notional ill-health pension whether or not the length of service was sufficient for the firefighter to qualify for such an award (the section Ill-Health Retirement in the Guide To Personal Benefits explains the method of assessment). Where the child s pension is calculated by reference to the firefighter s own pension, the calculation is based on the full pension before reduction for commutation, allocation or National Insurance modification. Take, for example a firefighter receiving a pension of 5, p.a. at date of death, i.e. a pension of 8, p.a. less 2, for commutation and 17 for National Insurance modification. If the child is entitled to 18.75% of the firefighter s pension, this is 18.75% of 8,000 p.a., not of 5, p.a. Also ignored at the initial stages of assessment is any Pensions Increase added to the firefighter s pension (explained in Will My Pension Increase At All? in the Guide To Personal Benefits). The child s pension is based on a percentage of the firefighter s pension as at the date of retirement. Then Pensions Increase is added using the same factors as applied for the firefighter. It will continue to attract Pensions Increase. A child s benefit is payable from the date of the firefighter s death in service, or from the start of the following pay period if on pension, or from the date of the child s birth if born posthumously. It will cease when the child ceases to be eligible (see the terms of eligibility above). A permanently disabled child could receive a pension for the rest of his or her life. Payments of pension are made in advance. A gratuity is normally paid as a single lump sum unless the fire authority are satisfied that it would be to the advantage of the beneficiary to pay it in instalments. PER9PT4S1 AB-25 12/01

26 It is up to the fire authority to decide who should receive payment of the child s benefit. Usually this is the widow(er) or guardian or sometimes the child him or herself. If it is paid to someone other than the child the authority may require a certification from the recipient that it will be used entirely for the child s benefit. The total of widow(er) s and children s allowances must not exceed the firefighter s own entitlement to pension. Although a child is eligible to receive a pension while in full-time remunerated training, the pension must be reduced by the remuneration. In some circumstances, therefore, the level of remuneration may be so high as to cause the payment to cease. Children s pensions may need to be recalculated if - the remaining parent dies, or - there is a change in the amount of allowance paid to a child in remunerated training, or - the number of eligible children changes. In the event of divorce, neither an earmarking order nor a pension sharing order would have any effect on children s benefits, see Part Seven The Effect of Divorce On Death Benefits. Types of benefit and examples In these notes you will find a description and example of all the current types of children s benefit. These are Death In Service and Death After Retirement 1. Child s Ordinary Allowance 2. Child s Special Allowance 3. Child s Special Gratuity 4. Child s Accrued Allowance 5. Child s Commuted Allowance PER9PT4S1 AB-26 12/01

27 1. CHILD S ORDINARY ALLOWANCE Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of length of service, where the firefighter dies on or off duty or after retirement, other than with a deferred pension, and not from the effects of a qualifying injury. Optant-out provision This does not apply in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation Other parent alive PENSION: 18.75% x firefighter s (notional*) pension per child to a limit of 37.50% No other parent alive PENSION: 25.00% x firefighter s (notional*) pension per child to a limit of 50.00% * If the firefighter dies in service the notional pension is the ill-health pension to which he/she would have been entitled at that date. Note: If a widow(er) s pension is payable, children s pensions are taken into account in the 13 weeks temporary payment of pay/pension to the widow(er) immediately following the firefighter s death. If no widow(er) s pension is payable then the total children s pensions will be raised to the level of the firefighter s pay/pension for the first 13 weeks following death. EXAMPLE: Child s Ordinary Allowance A male firefighter dies in service, not as a result of a qualifying injury, leaving 5 eligible children. His notional pension (i.e. the pension he would have received if retiring on health grounds at the date of death) is 10, p.a. The children s mother receives a widow s pension. PENSION: 37.50% x 10, = 3, p.a. The pension should stay at this level until the number of eligible children reduces to one. The pension would then reassessed as be 18.75% x 10, = 1, p.a. If the children s mother were to die while they were all still eligible to receive this award, the pension would increase to 50.00% x 10, = 5, p.a. The pension will stay at this level until the number of eligible children reduces to one. The pension would then be reassessed as 25.00% x 10, = 2, p.a. PER9PT4S1 AB-27 12/01

28 2. CHILD S SPECIAL ALLOWANCE Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of length of service, where the firefighter dies from the effect of a qualifying injury in service or after retirement. Optant-out provision This is payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation Other parent alive PENSION: 10.00% x firefighter s APP per child to a limit of 40.00% No other parent alive PENSION: 20.00% x firefighter s APP per child to a limit of 80.00% Note: If a widow(er) s pension is payable, children s pensions are taken into account in the 13 weeks temporary payment of pay/pension to the widow(er) immediately following the firefighter s death. If no widow(er) s pension is payable then the total children s pensions will be raised to the level of the firefighter s pay/pension for the first 13 weeks following death. EXAMPLE: Child s Special Allowance A female firefighter dies in service, as a result of a qualifying injury, leaving 5 eligible children. The children s father is entitled to a widower s pension but he dies 2 weeks after the firefighter. PP = 18,000.00; APP = 17, PENSION: 40.00% x 17, = 6, p.a. for two weeks then 80.00% x 17, = 13, p.a. For the first 13 weeks following the firefighter s death a temporary pension at the level of her PP is payable, so for the first two weeks the total of widower s and children s pension would be topped up to 18, p.a. Then the children s father dies and the widower s pension ceases. For the following 11 weeks only the children s pension is in payment but this, too, will be topped up to 18, p.a. The pension will remain the same when the number of eligible children reduces to four but must be reassessed when the number reduces to three (3 x 20%) x 17, = 10, p.a. then two (2 x 20%) x 17, = 6, p.a. and finally one 20% x 17, = 3, p.a. PER9PT4S1 AB-28 12/01

29 3. CHILD S SPECIAL GRATUITY Circumstances of payment Payable, regardless of length of service, where the firefighter s death is caused by a qualifying injury received in the execution of duties performed for the immediate purpose of saving or preventing the loss of human life where there was an intrinsic likelihood that the firefighter would receive a fatal injury and where the firefighter does not leave a widow(er) entitled to a Widow(er) s Special Award gratuity. Also payable where the fire authority are of the opinion that these conditions may have been satisfied or that an injury was received in circumstances where it would be inequitable not to pay this award. The gratuity is paid in addition to the Child s Special Allowance. Optant-out provision This is payable in respect of an optant-out. Method of calculation LUMP SUM 2 x current PP of London firefighter with 30 years service GRATUITY: Note: If there is more than one eligible child, this gratuity is divided equally between the children EXAMPLE: Child s Special Gratuity A firefighter dies in service, saving life, leaving 4 eligible children but no spouse. PP of London firefighter with 30 years service = 18, LUMP SUM 2 x 18, = 37, GRATUITY: As there are four eligible children, each is entitled to receive the benefit of 37, = 9, The children would also be entitled to receive the Child s Special Allowance as a pension. PER9PT4S1 AB-29 12/01

30 4. CHILD S ACCRUED ALLOWANCE Circumstances of payment Payable where death is unrelated to a qualifying injury and the firefighter has a deferred pension (by opting-out of the Pension Scheme or by leaving the fire service) whether or not the pension had come into payment at the date of death (for an explanation of the assessment of a deferred pension see the section What If I Choose To Leave My Brigade Before I Can Get A Pension? in the Guide To Personal Benefits). Optant-out provision This does apply in respect of an optant-out (subject to the optant-out having entitlement to a deferred pension). It is the standard, non-injury-related pension for the child of an optant-out with deferred benefits. Method of calculation Other parent alive PENSION: 18.75% x firefighter s deferred pension per child to a limit of 37.50% No other parent alive PENSION: 25.00% x firefighter s deferred pension per child to a limit of 50.00% Note: If the firefighter was an optant-out and dies in service, or the deferred pension was in payment at the time of death and a widow(er) s pension is payable, the Child s Accrued Allowance is taken into account in the 13 weeks temporary payment of pay/pension to the widow(er) immediately following the firefighter s death. If no widow(er) s pension is payable then the total children s pension will be raised to the level of the firefighter s pay/pension for the first 13 weeks following death. The 13 week payment does not apply where the firefighter had left the fire service and the deferred pension was not yet in payment. EXAMPLE: Child s Accrued Allowance A male firefighter dies after leaving the fire service but before his deferred pension comes into payment. He leaves 3 children and no widow. His deferred pension is 3,000 p.a. PENSION: 50.00% x 3, = 1, p.a. When only one child remains eligible the allowance will reduce to: 25.00% x 3, = p.a. Note that, although no widow s pension is payable, there is no temporary 13 week increase to the level of father s pension because his deferred pension was not in payment at the date of death. PER9PT4S1 AB-30 12/01

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