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how can I explain???

My ms nurse is composing a letter for me to support my decision to take ill health retirement from work rather than have HR finish me on health grounds. She’s phoned and left a voicemail asking me to let her know how far I can walk and with what aids etc. My question is, how do I go about explaining that sometimes I can walk round a supermarket, albeit slowly, holding on to a trolley and stopping when needed in a situation where I can pretend to be looking at the produce whilst easing my leg muscles and nobody bats an eyelid… OR there are days when I could be in the same supermarket and would happily curl up amongst the baked beans and sleep the day away. HOW do you measure, in metres,everyday walking ability when it’s so changeable?? :-/

hiya

what u have written here sounds a good explaination to me!

ellie

Your MS Nurse will know how to word it, tell her if you use a stick, a frame and or a chair. Explain your daily fatigue and the symptoms you have e.g pins and needles, tingling, buzzing. Do you have upper body weakness is your dexterity compromised? Do you have concentration issues, you need to have all these things backed up from the medics. I am going through this process at the moment and it is very worrying. I will be ringing my MS Nurse tomorrow to tell her of the situation and to let her know the Pension service will at some point be getting in touch with her for her opinion, I don’t have a Neuro Doctor I just hope that doesn’t make them think I’m not ill enough for a consultant! Good luck Jan x

Thankyou Ellie and thankyou Jan. I will tell her when she phones today and let her word it in the letter Jan, I know what you mean about the worry of it all. I’ve been told to increase my fluoxitine to 40mg as I’m becoming more anxious…as my gp said “is it any wonder with all that you’re going through and the worry of it all is going to make things worse”. Not looking forward to sitting in front of line managers, HR, and head nurse having to justify myself when they haven’t the first idea what life is like for me. Thank God I’ve got a union rep who’ll fight my corner a very approachable neurologist and a super ms nurse who only has her patients best interests at heart. Jan, the very best of luck to you xx

It might be useful to use the Extended Disability Scale (EDSS) as a marker for your mobility issues. It can all get very confusing when you are being asked to assess walking distances clarified by how fast you can walk, with or without aids and to what level of pain and discomfort. I attended a DLA Tribunal yesterday and there were some really interesting questions that they used to try to determine my walking capability, which had to be related to my capabilities 18 months ago when I first put the claim in. One of the questions related to shopping around the supermarket as well as how and time taken to visit the MS team in the hospital. Just on a side my appeal wasnt successful as the panel didnt think going back 18 months I met the criteria even though it was clear to the panel that I do now and they were insistent that I submit a new PIP claim asap, which I have kicked off today.

JC

Vinny I went to an Occupational Health assessment the day before yesterday, my employers sent me, he then sends them a report which ultimately the pension DR will see. I received my copy of the report this morning (very quick!!). Do your employers do this? He was very good and explained what happens, it isn’t his decision if I am retired through ill health but he thinks I have a good case. Perhaps the head nurse you mentioned will do this if they don’t use an Occ health Doctor. I don’t know who your employers are and if you are hoping for an early pension so it is hard to advise and say what I think will help. Please PM me if you want more detailed info although I have to say I can only advise you based on what’s happening to me. Jan x

what is the financial difference between taking ill-health retirement and being ‘finished’ by HR?

If you are “finished” by HR as being unable to perform the duties of your job then all you will get would be payment for your contractual notice period or if you are deemed to be made redundant (which would be unlikely if your job remains without any changes) then you would be eligible for the statutory redundancy payment which I think is one weeks pay for every years service. if you go down the IHR route then as well as being eligible for payment for contractual notice period, you would be able to claim early payment of your pension, providing your pension provider accepts your ill health case.

JC

I think of ill health retirement as meaning an early work pension is involved. If I was simply finished because I was no longer capable of doing my job then I wouldn’t qualify for an early pension. Ill health retirement doesn’t necessarily qualify you for full pension everyone is assessed and a decision is made as to whether they think you may recover sufficiently to resume work at a later date, a reduction of full pension may be awarded then reassessed in say three years. They may also decide you are capable of working and would therefore refuse and early retirement and simply end your employment. I have to stress I am not an expert this is just my take on my employment and pension circumstances. Jan

thnks JC - clearly Vinnie needs to go down the IHR route.

and she needs to describe things at their worst re walking etc. No need to mention the good days.

Yep, take the bad days as your lowest common denominator/baseline position. I was alos having a look at the PIP guidance and that seems to be saying that claimants need to be clear on what they cant do rather than what they can do. the “normal” route for IHR is that work would have a referral to either an in house or external Occuptaional Health body and they would make the reccomendation for IHR to the appropriate pensions agency. Thats not to say that your GP or MS nurse cant make the reccomendation, its just not the normally accepted way to apply for early release of pension benefits.

JC