Ill Health Retirement with PPMS

Hi first time poster here and looking for a bit of a steer on Ill health retirement with a diagnosis of PPMS (diagnosed in 2020). Will a company allow ill health retirement if you are not currently on long term sick leave but feel unable to work on due to the progression of PPMS ? Recent MRI shows no inflammatory lesions in brain or cord so not eligible for Ocrevus despite worsening progression of symptoms? Thanks everyone.

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In my personal experience, it can be enough for the employee and the employer to agree that, despite everyone’s best efforts to make it work, it’s finally time to call it a day and an ill health dismissal is the best outcome for everyone. But you are right to suggest that it is more typical for a lengthy period of sickness absence form work to precede an ill health dismissal. Much depends on the terms and conditions that apply in your workplace/pension provider, the role of your employer’s occupational health advisors and of course to individual circumstances too.

My sister who also has MS has told her employer she can no longer work and really isn’t safe to do so.

She has been signed off sick for 6 mths on full pay and then I think another 6mths half pay.
Her and her employer are looking at ill health retirement and she has a meeting with HR soon about this.

She has worked for them for over 25 years and was diagnosed over 13 years ago but only let her employer know in the past 2 years as it became more obvious that her mobility was compromised.

Her employers have been understanding so far.

I’ve also got MS and luckily for me I have Income Protection as an employee benefit.

I went down the signed off sick route first and after 6mths I was then eligible for Income Protection of 60% of my salary.

I did have to fight for this and gather as much medical evidence as I could.
Initially they declined my claim but eventually after 12mths accepted and back dated it.

I assume you’ve checked all your employee benefits?

Did you take out critical illness insurance with your mortgage as that is another avenue?
Unfortunately I didn’t but we’ve now managed to pay off the mortgage.

I do think you will probably need to go off on long term sick before they consider ill health retirement.
Good luck with whatever course of action yoy choose to take and take care.

Sorry forgot to say ask your Neurologist , MS nurse , and GP for a letter confirming your symptoms and that they are worsening despite no new lesions.
Also any other health professionals you see such as Physios , Occupational health , mental health etc. This will help with ill health retirement and claiming PIP if you don’t already do so.

Hi @Vixter
I’m currently going through the ill-health retirement procedure unfortunately, I officially have RRMS since 2001 but since January of last year I’m off-sick from work after a heavy relapse; I have other long term illnesses also contributing to my disability.
After exhausting a year of Statutory Sick Pay, I had to request the SSP form from employer so that I could apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); I’m still awaiting elective surgery and not fit to return to work at the moment.
I don’t know if I now have SPMS, so I’m just putting it down to disease progression after 20+ years of MS and other illnesses also contributing.
It’s a good idea to see if there is provision in your employment contract for ill-health retirement, so that you can apply for it from your employer.
Good luck and all the best,

As ever, MS is a grey area because of its progressive and incurable nature. The fact that the majority of MS-ers have a relapsing form doesn’t help the minority with progressive MS when opinions form in the wider population. Thinking laterally, someone in a life-changing road accident would not have had a history of long-term sickness, but their circumstances would have to be assessed on their health & capabilities as of now.

Regarding ocrelizumab, I was also excluded due to NEIDA but managed to get onto a clinical trial. Worth a look…


My employer, have just recently decided to proceed with Ill Health retirement for me as I have been off work for 6 months and will not be fit enough to return unfortunately.
It has been a sad acceptance but I know it is for the best.
The council HR have advised me to get in touch with the pension provider to let them know this process has started. OH will be in touch again with me to get my consent to allow them to get in touch with the medical team, GP, neurologist etc.
I have been very fortunate to have a very good management team supporting me.
I truly hope things work out well for you and always know the lovely people on here are the best and will help whenever they can.
Much Love

One point perhaps worth considering: it can be attractive to your employer for you and them to part ways by mutual agreement but technically on an ill-health dismissal WITHOUT a long period of sickness absence leading up to it. It potentially saves them lots of sick pay and lets them plan ahead without the uncertainty about whether you’re coming back and, if so, when and in what capacity and for how long. They might well reason that you’re going to be going some time, so actually it might as well be soon. Sorry if this sounds a bit brutal; I’m thinking aloud about how things might look from your employer’s perspective.

But isn’t that just the same as taking early-retirement?

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It is, but it can spare the employer having to pay up to a year’s worth of sick pay (or whatever the contract says) FIRST to somebody who isn’t there doing the job. Of course, it’s often worth the employee’s while to use his contractual entitlement by going off sick and staying that way until the sick pay runs out (full pay is better than a pension.) My point is that it can all be part of a negotiation.

Hi Mary I’m sorry to hear you are going through this, as you say it is hard to accept. Thank you for outlining the process for you and I hope it all goes smoothly.

Thanks Graeme, yes that makes a lot of sense in terms of someone being assessed on how they are today. My husband was diagnosed in 2020 and his progression has been steady - walking issue was first symptom but is becoming a major issue now. My husband has a new Neuro who is interested and engaged so we will enquire about a clinical trial, however at 63 they may say he is too old. It’s so frustrating to have symptoms progression without the inflammation (guess that just counts as neuro degeneration).

Thank you JP and I’m sorry to hear you are going through all this too right now. There is definately IHR provision within my husbands pension provider. Good Luck for you going forward.

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Thank you - I should clarify its my husband who has PPMS and he is under a new neurologist who reviewed him recently before his MRI scan and he said that he would support IHR due to “severe fatigue”. We have this in writing.

Thanks you that’s helpful as I guess it shows there are 2 options here. I guess we just thought that having an incurable disease with no medication on offer would be enough to make IHR a forgone conclusion but I guess not !

Thank you Alison thats helpful. I think going onto a period of sick leave may be the answer.

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Hi Alison, yes this was actually my take on my husbands employer benefiting from him not going long term sick. I see it may be best to try and follow what the majority have done in terms of being off sick for a prolonged period before IHR.

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Yes absolutely, full or even half SSP is still more generous than pension or benefit.
I’m in limbo while IHR is a working progress, technically I still work full time on nil remuneration; instead of to employer, I must continue providing fitnote to DWP in order to receive ESA, until told no longer required.

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Another reason to stay employed but go on sick leave is your husband should continue to get all his other employee benefits , pension , holidays , death in service, and continue to pay national insurance contributions which may help your husbands state pension when the time comes.
Wishing you both all the best.

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Thank you yes that’s something else I had not considered. Thanks so much for help

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