I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I’m posting on behalf of my wife. Aged 36 she is in the process of retiring from her job as a teacher due to ill health. She has relapsing remitting MS and has been suffering with neurological issues in the main, rather than physical issues since her last relapse around a year ago.
The opinion of the medical experts we have been dealing with over the past few months is that due to the specific nature of my wife’s neurological issues, she struggles to deal with the expectations of teaching, she would be capable of some form of full time work. My wife and I share the same opinion. We applied to Teacher Pensions with the hope that partial ill health retirement (cannot work as a teacher, but free to work in other areas) would be awarded. Despite the evidence provided to Teacher Pensions from consultants singing from this same hymn sheet, to our surprise my wife has been awarded full ill health retirement, which would mean that she would be unable to work in any form of gainful employment.
I know that for those who clearly cannot work any longer in any shape or form, this is what they would want, however at the present time, we feel that this is an incorrect assessment, and my wife has been ‘written off’ as having no job prospects and aged 36, with only around 13 years of service to (I believe) she is likely to receive a small amount of money per month, much less than a job which she may be more suited to and able to cope with so rather than being a benefit, this retirement award will actually be restrictive to someone in her position.She is physically able to walk for miles, has no major issues with looking after herself, etc.
Our initial thought is to appeal against the level of the award in the hope it gets ‘downgraded’ to partial ill health. We are in a quandary – we do need to find out exactly what lump sum and monthly amount she would receive, but if our assumption is correct that the payments will be very low then we need to think about what to do next
My wife’s health is stable at present and as per above we and doctors believe she could work at the moment. If we appeal now and she receives partial ill health retirement, is free to work in non-teaching roles, then at a later date 1 year, 10 years, 20 years in the future if her health deteriorates over time to a point when she may not be able to work in any shape or form, will she be able to re-apply (with up to date evidence) and potentially be awarded full health retirement? I appreciate pension rules/assessment criteria change over time.
Is there anything here that we’re missing and need to consider? The above is all financial - my wife’s health and mental wellbeing is my paramount concern but both us are cautious about taking a rash step now that we regret in the future as we do have financial commitments of a mortgage and I myself have just been made redundant so this is simply the harsh reality of the situation. I know this is specific to teacher pensions, however I believe this kind of two tier award for ill health is similar across many public sector pension schemes.
Thanks for reading,