Ill health retirement

Afternoon all

Been a while since I was on here. I dip in and out, but need some advice.

My story. I was dx in Feb 2013 with PPMS. To be honest I’d felt rough for a while so, whilst shocked, I wasnt really surprised.

At the time, I was working as a Prison Officer. Work were brilliant and quickly offered me a non operational role. I did this for 3 years in the prison, then was successful in applying for a promotion. Trouble was, it involved a commute into London. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I accepted. I’ve done it for 8 months. The commute is getting harder and harder. I’m worried about tripping up. If I do, I ain’t getting back up. My cognitive ability is now impaired and the fatigue is awful.

I’ve got a mobility scooter for days out but my mobility is worsening. And the fatigue is debilitating.

I went sick on Tuesday and after a tearful (by me) conversation with my wonderful wife, was thinking IHR might be the most appropriate course of action. My job is incessant and very stressful, as many managerial jobs are. With my fatigue, mobility problems and impaired cognitive function I think this may be the way forward, if only to reduce the stress levels in my life.

I was offered lower tier IHR or a regrade when first dx. I took the regrade as I felt I was capable of continuing working. Circumstances have now changed. Will I be eligible for upper tier IHR? The guide states I have to be incapable of executing my job to an acceptable standard and incapable of any other work. I would argue I can’t do any other work to an acceptable standard but I fear this is not what the Pension provider will agree with.

I’m not a workshy malingerer!! I’ve been in full time employment for 30 years with an excellent attendance record and would rather not give up work, but feel I have to accept my limitations.

Any advice gratefully received.

Have a pleasant day.


I was diagnosed PPMS in 2011, I used to teach in a primary special school. I went off sick in the April before diagnosis in the September. I tried to do a phased return but it didn’t work out. I applied for IHR with the support of occ health and was awarded the enhanced level meaning I wouldn’t work again. Someone from HR told me that I was the only teacher (locally) to be awarded this in many years and that was because of the PPMS lablel (there has to be some advantages!). I got loads of evidence from anyone who was involved in my care and this obviously helped. Incidentally, my pension didn’t come in to effect until I had exhausted my full sick entitlement.

Send me a message if you want any other help.

Sarah x


I understand fully. I managed to keep working until I was 61, having reduced my hours to 20 for the final year. I was awarded the highest tier. I worked for the Police as a civilian and I was treated very fairly; I am sure the same must apply to the Prison service?

In addition to the above good advice, it is important that you contact your union over this. The rep will guide you through the process, attend all meetings with you, to ensure you receive the highest possible award.

Accepting when enough is enough is a very difficult thing to do, but once you have done so, you will breathe a huge sigh of relief and all the stress will lift.

Good luck with the process.


I’m not sure of the answer, but out of interest are you public or private sector? I’m a Probation Officer and currently on phased return with the only reasonable adjustments that can be put in place, so have thought about the fact that retirement will have to be a consideration one day. I don’t know if it’s better or worse but I was placed in the private sector when the Tories dismantled the Probation Service x

Hi Al,

Three organisation offer you help in choosing and getting IHR. The first is the Disabled Law Society Multiple Sclerosis Legal Advice Line | Disability Law Service the next is The Pension Service Browse: State Pension - GOV.UK last but probable the best one Decisions On Ill Health Retirement - The Pensions Advisory Service

As others have said it will take a big weight off your mind; in fact, after a while, you will think ‘where did you find the time to work.’

Good luck


Thanks for responding.

I’m public sector.

Do you work for one of these CRCs? They came into my prison a couple of years ago. One of Grayling’s (many) pearls of wisdom that someone else now has to try and sort out!!


I do indeed. I can’t even stand looking at Graylings face! It’s completely crazy. Cut in staffing numbers and increased case loads now everyone comes out on a Licence. It’s a relentless field of work isn’t it? At least you’re Public though, I think if I worked in a prison it’s def the side I’d want. I’d like to think they’d be more supportive of the ill health retirement process x