The Armed Forces Pension Schemes (AFPS) have been amended and details of each change are described below. They are effective from:
• 1 December 2018, AFPS 05 and AFPS 15,
• 1 January 2019, AFPS 75.
All new entrants to the Regular Armed Forces joined one of the following pension schemes:
• Until 5 April 2005 – AFPS 75.
• From 6 April 2005 to 31 March 2015 – AFPS 05. In 2006, AFPS 75 members had a single opportunity to transfer their pensionable service from AFPS 75 to AFPS 05. This change was permanent.
• From 1 April 2015 - AFPS 15.
All new entrants to the Reserve Forces had the option to join one of the following pension schemes:
• Non-Regular Permanent Staff Pension Scheme (NRPS PS) – for those who began NRPS service before 6 April 2005;
• Full Time Reserve Service Pension Scheme (FTRS PS) – for those who began FTRS or were mobilised before 6 April 2005.
• Reserve Forces Pension Scheme (RFPS 05) – for those who began FTRS, Additional Duties Commitment or mobilisation, between 6 April 2005 to 31 March 2015;
• From 1 April 2015 – AFPS 15.
Members who continued in service on 1 April 2015 were transferred from their legacy scheme to AFPS 15, any rights accrued in a legacy scheme remain protected. However, members stayed in their original pension scheme if they had reached one of the following ages:
• For AFPS 75; AFPS 05; and FTRS PS serving on Full Commitment - will reach age 55 on or before 1 April 2022;
• For RFPS 05; FTRS PS serving Home Commitment or Limited Commitment; and NRPS – will reach age 60 on or before 1 April 2022.
Changes to the Schemes
Nomination of Lump Sum Death Benefits – AFPS 05 and AFPS 15 only. When a member of AFPS 05 or AFPS 15 dies, a lump sum death benefit may be payable under the pension scheme rules. This is not a pension, and is paid separately from any dependants’ pensions which may be payable. The AFPS 05 and AFPS 15 schemes allow members to nominate in writing to the scheme administrator (DBS-Vets UK) one or more persons or an organisation to receive any lump sum death benefit which may be payable. If no nomination is made, or if an existing one is revoked, then the rules of the scheme set out a hierarchy of possible recipients, as follows:
a. anyone entitled to a surviving partner’s pension (spouse/civil partner/cohabitee); failing which
b. anyone entitled to a child’s pension (not adult children); failing which
c. the member’s personal representatives.
Where a lump sum is payable to a nominee, surviving partner or child, it is paid directly to that person. If the lump sum is paid to the member’s personal representative (executor), they will distribute it under the terms of the member’s Will or, if there is no Will, the laws of intestacy. The change to the pension scheme rules provides that any marriage or civil partnership entered into on or after 1 December 2018 will revoke the existing nomination. The effect of this change is that, unless the member makes another nomination after their marriage or civil partnership, the hierarchy set out above will apply. This change is not retrospective. It does not apply to marriages or civil partnership entered into before 1 December 2018. In these cases, if a nomination was made before the marriage or civil partnership, then it will still be valid, and members should review their nomination immediately.
Pension Entitlement for Same Sex Partners – AFPS 05 and AFPS 75 Only. As a result of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Walker v Innospec, the rules of AFPS 05 and AFPS 75 are amended to ensure that surviving same sex spouses and civil partners are entitled to the same benefits as widows under the schemes. The effect of this change for AFPS 05 is that all reckonable service is now counted when calculating the survivor’s pension, where before it was only service after 5 April 1988. In AFPS 75 the effect is that same sex survivors are now entitled to pensions where the member left service between April 1978 and October 1987, where before they could only receive a pension if the member had been in service after 1 October 1987.
Final Salary Link – AFPS 05 Only. The final salary link ensures that where a member of AFPS 05 was transferred to AFPS 15, their accrued AFPS 05 pension will ultimately be calculated by reference to their final pensionable earnings when they leave armed forces service. This is because AFPS 05 is a final salary pension and the government committed to allowing those pensions to be calculated on the basis of the final salary, if it was higher. The MOD have identified that there are a group of individuals who leave regular service and then re-join as regular, but on a lower salary. In some cases, this could have the effect that their AFPS 05 pension would be calculated by reference to the lower salary in AFPS. This amendment ensures that where a member is entitled to an AFPS 05 pension, this will be calculated on the higher of their final pensionable earnings in AFPS 05 or AFPS 15.
Abatement – AFPS 75 Only. This change provides that the amount of the AFPS 75 pension abatement should be re-calculated when a member starts and ends a period of ordinary maternity leave, ordinary paternity leave, ordinary adoption leave and additional maternity leave.
Further Information on the Armed Forces Pension Schemes can be found below: