Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

Circular 43/2015 – Modified Pension Scheme Outstanding Calcs

The purpose of this Circular is to provide a timescale of dealing with outstanding calculations in relation to The New Firefighters- Pension Scheme (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 (Modified Pension Scheme).

 Background

The New Firefighters- Pension Scheme (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 came into operation on 1 April 2015.  This Order amends The New Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 to provide those persons who were employed as Retained Firefighters, during the period from 1 July 2000 to 5 April 2006 inclusive, with access to a Pension Scheme for that period.

Current Position

The outstanding areas of work in relation to the The New Firefighters- Pension Scheme (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 (Modified Pension Scheme) and the timelines for completion are as follows:

1          Special Deferred Members

 NIFRS has calculated the majority of the Special Deferred Members- Pensions and has subsequently issued a letter to the individuals involved advising them of their Deferred Pension entitlements.  There are currently 9 outstanding calculations and NIFRS is currently liaising with the individuals involved and anticipates a completion date in October 2015.

2          Special Pensioner Members

Special Pensioners who have joined the Modified Pension Scheme, left our employment and attained the relevant retirement age are now entitled to their pension payments.  NIFRS is commencing these pension calculations and it is anticipated that the pension payments will be made on 30 October 2015 or 1 December 2015 directly into Members- bank accounts.

 

3          Ill Health

NIFRS has received a number of requests for retrospective ill health/ill health retirements.  The requests have been segregated into four batches, namely:

 

  • Deferred Member or a Special Pensioner Member and who had been dismissed on the grounds of ill-health and had retired from employment as a Retained Firefighter before 6 April 2006.

 

  • Deferred Member or a Special Pensioner Member and who had been dismissed on the grounds of ill health and had retired from employment as a Retained Firefighter after 6 April 2006.

 

  • Deferred Member or a Special Pensioner Member and who had retired from employment as a Retained Firefighter before 6 April 2006 and is subsequently asking to be considered for a retrospective ill health pension.

 

  • Deferred Member or a Special Pensioner Member and who had retired from employment as a Retained Firefighter after 6 April 2006.

The first batch of ill health referrals has been sent to the Independent Medical Adviser appointed by NIFRS for consultation and evaluation.  This process will continue over the next few months to clear the current backlog of cases.

4          Transfers In

 NIFRS received 300 requests for Transfer Ins under Section 79c (ii) of the New Firefighters- Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 which relates to procedures for applications of transfer value from another pension scheme.  The legislation states -any application in the case of a transfer value payment must be made during the period of one year beginning with the day on which the member becomes eligible to be a firefighter memberâ?.

As per legislation you only have the option to transfer pension benefits from other external pension schemes into your Special Membership provided you had not already had the option to transfer the pension in previously to your NFPS Pension Scheme.

Unfortunately in the majority of cases the statutory 12 month time limit, as outlined in the relevant legislation above, had expired.  For this reason the majority of the Transfer In requests has been disallowed and the Special Pension Members concerned will receive a letter shortly in this regard.

NIFRS has approximately 20 Transfers In to progress to the next stage of contacting the relevant Pension Provider.  This process can take approximately 3 months, depending on the pension provider.  Members will be kept abreast of their individual Transfer In.

The introduction of the Modified Pension Scheme has taken a substantial period of time to introduce and thank you for your patience in this matter.

 Website

 For your information a new Pensions Folder has recently been opened on the NIFRS website and we would refer members to this to access all current legislation relating to the five NIFRS Pension Schemes and all relevant Pension Updates.

If anyone has any queries on anything contained within this Circular they can contact the Pension Department by e-mailing pensions@nifrs.org.

 

Dale Ashford QFSM

Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer

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