If a special member of the FPS 2006 dies (before or after retirement), a survivor's pension will be paid to a husband, wife, civil partner, or cohabiting partner.
Survivor benefits for retained firefighters are worked out using the principles for assessing pensionable service and pensionable pay shown under how is my pension worked out?
Survivor's long term pension
- Following the death of an active scheme member, the survivor's pension would be half of the higher tier award which the firefighter would be entitled to if they had retired on ill-health grounds on the date of death.
- Following the death of a pensioner member, the survivor's pension would be half of the deceased's pension - that is the value of the pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation of lump sum.
- Following the death of a firefighter, or former firefighter entitled to a deferred pension which was not in payment at the date of death, the survivor's pension would be half of the deferred pension.
Note that if the husband, wife, civil partner, or cohabiting partner is more than 12 years younger than the member, the survivor's pension would be reduced by 2.5% for every year or part year above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.
A survivor's pension is payable for life, even if the survivor marries or remarries, forms a civil partnership or a subsequent civil partnership. Also, there is no difference in treatment according to whether the marriage/partnership took place before or after the scheme member's retirement.
In addition to the survivor's pension, a "bereavement pension" may also be payable.
For the first 13 weeks following death, the husband, wife, civil partner, or cohabiting partner will also receive a bereavement pension. In effect, this tops up the survivor's pension to the level of the firefighter's pensionable pay (death in service) or pension (death on pension).
There is no bereavement pension due in the case of a deferred pension which has not come into payment at the date of death.
For a bereavement pension payable in the event of death in service where the survivor's pension is brought up to the level of the firefighter's pensionable pay, the pensionable pay for this purpose will be a proportion of that paid to a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role.
The proportion is worked out in a similar way as working out the pensionable pay for the lump sum death grant. The retained firefighter in the death grant example had 5 years 291 days of qualifying service (5.7973 years) of which 1.6915 years counted as pensionable service, and the pensionable pay of a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role was £28,000.
Using the same details for the bereavement pension, this would mean that for the first 13 weeks following the firefighter's death in service, the weekly rate of the bereavement pension would be –
£28,000/52.2 x 1.6915/5.7973 = £156.51
In the case of death on pension, where the bereavement pension brings the level of survivor's pension up to the weekly rate of pension being received by the retired firefighter at the date of death, there are no special provisions for a retained firefighter – all the relevant adjustments would have been made at the time of retirement.
If no pension is payable to a husband, wife, civil partner, or cohabiting partner, but a pension is payable to a child or children, the child/ren would receive the bereavement pension. If there is more than one child, the bereavement pension would be divided between them. If one of the children ceases to be eligible during the 13 weeks for which payment is to be made, the pension would be re-divided in equal portions between the remaining eligible children.
Payment of bereavement pension would also be made to an eligible child or children if a surviving partner entitled to the payment were to die before the end of the 13 week payment period. The child or children would receive bereavement pension for the remaining part of the period.
Contact your FRA's pension administrator if you would like more detailed information on any of these points or would like to discuss your personal circumstances.