Just because you are leaving your present employer it does not mean you have to leave TBF - even if you are going out of the public transport industry. You may qualify for free membership, or you may continue contributing. This is a summary of our rules, but it is not a definitive statement of them; a copy will be provided on request. We are sorry if the rules seem complex, but they have to take account of very different working conditions in the many undertakings in which we have members.
These provisions apply if you are leaving the industry. In all other cases (including where operations are transferred to another company) we expect you to continue contributing. If you do not, your membership will cease. At the discretion of the Trustees, contributors retain beneficiary rights for 12 weeks after leaving the service, regardless of age or length of membership.
We are sorry we cannot generally undertake to contact you when you leave service, but we shall be pleased to respond quickly if you have any questions about your membership. Contributions cannot generally be re-started more than six months after you left service, unless you are engaged in the public transport industry when they re-start. We shall normally aggregate all your periods of membership when deciding whether to award free membership, but generally not those which ended because you withdrew from TBF without leaving the service.
Free fund membership
Free fund membership is a valuable concession which may be awarded to a person who has been a fund member for a considerable period or who has been one for a shorter period but cannot work again because of permanent incapacity. Where awarded, free fund membership replaces fund membership.
The Trustees have the responsibility of determining whether or not to award free fund membership and in taking their decisions they will be guided by what is contained in this Annex, although circumstances will occur where eligibility is difficult to assess. The decision made by or for the Trustees will be reviewed where it is felt this causes undue hardship, but the final decision of the Trustees is binding.
An award of free fund membership applies for as long as the circumstances which applied (or were believed to apply) at the time contributions ceased continue to apply. Where this ceases to be the case, free fund membership may be withdrawn; it may subsequently be re-awarded in appropriate cases. The Trustees may call for such evidence to prove eligibility as they may reasonably require, whether at the time of the initial award or subsequently.
Where the fund member ceased contributions prior to January 1, 2000 eligibility for free fund membership is determined in accordance with the arrangements which applied at the time contributions ceased and this eligibility is not affected by the adoption of these revised arrangements from that date. In addition, those members who qualified for free fund membership prior to July 11, 2007 may retain this even if they are employed.
A fund member will be considered for free fund membership regardless of whether they contributed personally or an employer paid on their behalf.
At the sole discretion of the Trustees, any fund member may continue contributing (whether or not still involved with the provision of public transport services) so as to maintain fund membership or to qualify themselves for consideration for free fund membership. Unless there are extenuating circumstances (generally the unexpected non-granting of long-term incapacity benefit after leaving service on medical grounds or where the member would have had significant problems making earlier contact), membership must be continued within six months of ceasing contributions if they are to have the opportunity to continue contributing from outside the industry.
In addition to the other provisions of this Annex, free fund membership will only be awarded or maintained where the Trustees consider in their discretion that the member concerned has ceased remunerative work.
1. On ceasing contributions at State retirement age
- With at least 5 years' membership: may be awarded free fund membership.
- With less than 5 years' membership: membership ceases.
2. On ceasing contributions before State retirement age
- With at least 25 years’ membership: may be awarded free fund membership on verification that they are not remuneratively engaged and do not intend to resume remunerative work.
- With less than 25 years’ membership: may be awarded free fund membership later, subject to their continuing to contribute until State retirement age (or until they have paid 25 years’ contributions if this would be achieved earlier) and on verification that they are not remuneratively engaged and do not intend to resume remunerative work. Regardless of the foregoing, they must have paid at least 5 years’ contributions at the time they are considered for free fund membership.
- Where they would otherwise be eligible to be awarded free fund membership but they are working or intend to work: free fund membership may be awarded later when they declare they are not remuneratively engaged and do not intend to resume remunerative work.
- Where they do not have sufficient membership to meet 2a, 2b or 2c and do not continue contributing in order to qualify under these: membership ceases.
3. On ceasing contributions on medical grounds
Free fund membership may be awarded where the person was a fund member for at least five years while engaged in the provision of public transport services and where the Trustees are satisfied (after such enquiries as they deem necessary) that they are (or have been) eligible for a State benefit which in the opinion of the Trustees indicates their inability to undertake any remunerative work subject to the following:
- The receipt of this benefit must have been continuous since service was terminated on medical grounds, subject to any waiting periods for benefit prescribed by law or imposed in practice by the benefit authority.
- When beyond State retirement age, they can show that the provisions of (a) were continuously met until that age.
The Trustees may extend free fund membership to other former fund members where they believe assistance to be justified, notwithstanding their inability to confirm that rules 3a and/or 3b have been complied with.
4. On death
The dependants of fund members who die will be eligible for continuing consideration as dependants in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution provided they were dependent on either:
- A person to whom free fund membership had been awarded in accordance with Sections 1, 2 or 3 or where this had been suspended in accordance with the provisions of Section 2; or
- A fund member who was still contributing at the time of death and had been a contributor for at least five years.
Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the Trustees granting short-term relief by means of convalescence or otherwise to the dependants of a fund member not otherwise qualified.
Where a dependant continues to be treated as such by virtue of their being the partner of a fund member or a free fund member, this shall continue during that person's life, but shall not pass to another person by virtue of any other partnership.
- At the sole discretion of the Trustees, a former fund member may be deemed to be a member for the purpose of being granted benefits for the first 12 weeks after ceasing contributions.
- All arrangements apply equally to men and women; there is no age difference.
- Nothing shall prevent the Fund from attempting at its sole discretion to contact members who cease contributions, but it is normally incumbent on such members to make contact with the Fund themselves to ascertain eligibility for free fund membership.
A member has been contributing to the Fund for nine years and never asked for any benefits. He has now retired and was told he would be a free member, he then stated "I would like to continue contributing into the Fund".
TBF member from Rainham