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Firefighters Pension Scheme NI (2015) CARE

Firefighters Pension Scheme NI (2015) CARE

On 1st April 2015 a new Northern Ireland Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2015 (Firefighters’ 2015) was introduced. If you are joining Firefighters’ 2015 for the first time, or you re-joined the scheme after a break of five or more years, you will be in the 2015 scheme. Your normal pension age (NPA) will be 55.

The Firefighters Pension Scheme NI (2015) is a career average revalued earnings (CARE) scheme. CARE is a defined benefit pension scheme which guarantees a certain level of benefit at retirement. A pension is calculated using a fraction of pensionable pay throughout membership of the scheme.

  • How are Benefits Earned and Re-valued in the CARE Scheme?

    Benefits earned on a yearly basis are calculated as 1/64.8 of the members pensionable pay. So to work out how much pension you will earn in any one year, simply divide your pensionable pay by 64.8.

    The pension you have earned at the end of every year (31st March) is revalued on the first day of the following scheme year (1st April). For members who are paying into the scheme, this is currently in line with the Average Weekly Earnings (AWE).

    If you leave the scheme your pension pots will continue to be revalued in line with CPI increases until you retire. This continues until you retire, and all of your final pension benefits are added together to work out your final pension.

    For example: if a member’s pensionable pay is £25,000 per year their benefit earned is: £25,000/64.8 = £385.80.

    ​For illustration purposes

    Pensionable Pay No revaluation 1 years revaluation 2 years revaluation 3 years revaluation 4 years revaluation
    Year 1 Salary £25,000 £385.80 £395.45 £405.33 £415.47 Year 1 value at end of 4 years £425.86
    Year 2 Salary £25,000 £393.52 £403.36 £413.44 Year 2 value at end of 3 years: £423.78 Value
    Year 3 Salary £26,000 £401.23 £411.26 Year 3 value at end of 2 years: £421.55 Value
    Year 4 Salary £26,500 £408.95 Year 4 Value at end of 1 year: £419.17 Value
    Year 5 Salary £27,000 Year 5 Value: £416.67 Value

    As you can see, the first year’s pension gets 4 years of revaluation, the second gets 3 years and so on until the final year which needs no revaluation. Adding all these years together after 5 years gives a total annual pension of £2107.03.

  • Transferring Benefits into the CARE scheme:

    If you have previous membership in any other UK Public Service Pension Scheme you may be entitled to retain a lower NPA. This is subject to your age and the length of break between leaving your old scheme and joining the CARE 2015 scheme. To ensure you’re entered in the correct pension arrangement, please complete section one of the joining questionnaire which is available to download below:

    Transfer Form

    You will also need to complete this questionnaire if you are interested in transferring previous pension rights into the scheme. Please note the transfer applications will only be accepted within 12 months from the date you joined the scheme, and before your NPA. Any delay in applying for a transfer could impact upon the value of your transfer.

    It is important to note that if you have been a member of a Firefighters pension scheme elsewhere in the UK your benefits will not automatically transfer to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Pension Scheme and the transfer must be requested from the receiving scheme.

  • Increasing Pension Benefits:

    You can increase your pension benefits within the scheme by:

    • Additional Pension – you have the option to purchase additional pension either by additional monthly contributions or by lump sum. See the additional pensions factsheet for further information.

    If you wish to purchase additional pension, you can complete and submit the form below.

    Early Retirement Reduction Buy Out (ERRBO) Form

  • Death in Service:

    CARE 2015 scheme will pay a lump sum death grant if you die while you are an active member of the scheme. In the event of your death, benefits will be paid, on application, to your:

    • Spouse
    • Civil Partner
    • Co-habiting partner

    However, if you do not wish any of the above to receive death benefits, you also have the option to make a specific nomination using Death Grant Nomination form which can be found below:

    *Insert Death Grant form*

  • Nomination of a co-habiting partner for pension benefits:

    It is possible to nominate your co-habiting partner for pension benefits; however, a number of conditions must be satisfied. If you wish to nominate a partner please complete and return the Partner Nomination form below.

    Partner Nomination Form

  • Pensions Tax Relief:

    Pension’s tax relief is subject to the Annual Allowance and the Life Time Allowance tax limits set by HMRC.

  • Automatic Enrollment from July 2017:

    The UK Government has placed a legal duty on employers to automatically enrol their employees into a pension scheme. The benefits of being in the scheme are included in the members guide. If you do not wish to be a member of the scheme, you can opt out by completing the form below:

    Opt Out Form

    You should note that after the introduction of the statutory automatically enrolment provisions, if you opt out and remain within the same employer, your employer will automatically re-enrol you back into the scheme every three years. However, you can opt out at any time.

  • Transition Members

    What is a transition member?

    A transition member is a person who has built up service in either the FPS (NI) 2007, NFPS (NI) 2007 or NFPS (NI) Modified 2007 legacy final salary schemes before moving into the FPS (NI) 2015. Transition members have certain protections on the final salary benefits they have already built up.

    Normal retirement age

    The retirement age of the former final salary pension is protected. This means that when a transition member normal retirement age for the final salary scheme they can retire and take their final salary benefits.

    Final salary link

    • The pensionable pay used to calculate the final salary pension at retirement is guaranteed to be the highest pay since moving to the FPS (NI) 2015.
    • If the pay at the point of moving to the FPS (NI) 2015 is higher than at retirement that pay can be used to calculate final salary benefits.


    • NFPS 2007/NFPS Modified 2007 – the service built up at the point of moving to FPS (NI) 2015 is used to calculate the pension.
    • FPS (NI) 2007 – the double accrual guarantee formula recognises the expectation to double accrual under FPS (NI) 2007 and proportions the expected benefits.

    Commutation factors

    Any FPS (NI) 2007 pension that a transition member chooses to exchange for a lump sum will still be worked out using factors provided by the Scheme Actuary, instead of using the standard rate of £12 pounds of lump sum in exchange for each £1 of pension given up. See ‘how much of a lump sum can I take‘ for more information.