Ill health retirement - is it an option?

Hello! First time posting here.

I’m 47. I’ve been diagnosed with RRMS since 2008. I’ve had two rounds of Lemtrada, most recently in Sept 2020.
This whole year I’ve struggled massively at work. I have fatigue which is crippling me. My right leg has started to go numb. Both arms and hands are already numb. My cognition is rubbish!

I’ve had two long periods off sick with low mood.

When I’m working I can’t focus and I’m not productive.

I had an occ health assessment which noted details about me I hadn’t noticed!

The main recommendation was 3 -6 months working M/W/F to manage fatigue. Work agreed to 6 weeks, which is great still. However there’s nothing I do which seems to help and I’m almost at the end of my 6 weeks already.

I’m going to be underperforming in my PDS as I’ve not been able to do my job. Which involves going out and visiting people. I’m struggling to drive for long periods due to fatigue.

I work from home so am able to have a lunchtime kip but it doesn’t really help with my productivity! I’m scared I’m going to be sacked!

I was thinking maybe I should look at I’ll health retirement? Not sure about the financial aspect, what I’m entitled to as I still need an income.

Anyone experienced this or able to advise?

Thank you x

Hi Christina, you have my every sympathy. I hear where you are coming from.

I like you am struggling with work, I hate how my body is putting limitations and what I can do and sadly my head isn’t too far behind.

Like you I wonder, regardless of finances, whether to take ill health retirement. My head says yes detached and remote my heart says no. I love what I do why should I be forced to go down this route, this was never in the plan.

I recently had an OH meeting who also noticed changes in mood and ability. She made me realise that sometimes despite every intervention we have no choose but accept that we can’t work anymore… honestly I cried.

Sorry I couldn’t offer any advice but just wanted to let you know that I understand where you are at.


Hi Christina
My rough approximation is that I started a job last Jan and they didn’t renew after end of March. Partially down to a change of direction but also, if I’m honest, because my productivity was too poor.

Working from home, I could have naps and regular trips to the loo which was excellent, but I was incapable of doing 8 hour days and as time went on, it was getting worse.

My advice, with the benefit of hindsight, is to recognise objectively your current capability and jump in before someone makes the decision for you. Perhaps you can only do 5 hours not 8 in a day? Perhaps you need 90 mins for lunch? Perhaps 4 days not 5 in a week? Whatever you can do. Crucially, your suggestion becomes your offer and as employer, they have to take that seriously.

Whether you can live on the reduced hours is a different conversation. Deal with one at a time. Have you applied for PIP or UC if money is the problem?


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Yes, you need to find out all you can about your pension position and how IHR works where you are and what you would be entitled to if you were deemed by your Scheme’s advisors to qualify for IHR.

I really feel for you. I know all too well the miserable and spirit-sappping state of being neither use nor ornament at work. I only wish I had thrown in the towel sooner!

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Thanks for sharing, it’s tough still wanting to do a job you love but not being able to as easily.
I hope you get some resolution soon xx

Hi thanks, reducing hours isn’t financially viable for me, especially with increases in the cost of living. I’ll look into other financial support options

Thanks, my pride is a massive factor in this! I don’t want to give up work but if I do it may even improve my health. Just worried about the financial impact and the stress of going through the process x

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Sorry Christina, but reducing hours shouldn’t be a financial consideration. It’s about making reasonable adjustments to lifestyle and money sourcing.

Your body doesn’t understand finance! :cry: Trying to soldier on isn’t an option if it’s killing you or making you more ill / accelerating your decline.

Talk to work, talk to DWP, talk to landlord / mortgage provider etc. Wish it was an easier pill to swallow but life isn’t fair.

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Yes, it’s all tough stuff.

One other point: before jumping to reducing your hours (rather than just going now), check thoroughly what impact that might have on a future IHR departure. Some pension schemes will calculate assumed future pensionable service to retirement age on the basis of salary and work pattern as at date of termination (or some variation on that). This can potentially clobber a person who only goes to part time late in his/her service.

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Since July 2021 I have been going through the ill health retirement process, for similar reasons fatigue & cognitive issues. Last year I had a zoom call with an independent medical practitioner who stated I should contact my MS team to see if there was any medication I could go on. He stated he would reassess following response from MS team. He didn’t wait for response & reported I was fit to work. The response from my MS team was that there was no medication that would make any significant improvement. Recently I was informed that an independent medical practitioner (no idea if the same one) having taken into account response from MS team now stated I in there opinion I qualified for Level 1 ill health retirement. However the final decision is apparently made by HR. I’m still awaiting their decision. If you do decide to go down this route I hope your request goes smoother & quicker than mine.

That sounds stressful, what is the difference between level one and level two? Surely if you can’t work you can’t work?
Hope it resolves soon xx

Oh by the way forgot (nothing unusual) to say that my ill-health retirement has finally been approved & my retirement date is 13/11/22. Yeah!!!

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Hi Chr1st1na. Sorry it’s taken a while to respond. Been busy with medical appointments for myself & parents who I am carer for. Had a complete meltdown after a hospital appointment for my mum which lasted almost 4 hours & the fact that my dad has Alzheimers and was constantly asking why we were there. Know he can’t help it but really doesn’t help with fatigue.
Anyway back to your question the difference between Tier 1 & 2 with my employers are Tier 1 they don’t expect you to be capable of working before your 65 birthday & Tier 2 they expect you to be capable of working after 3 years.