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Ill Health Retirement.

Well, it looks like I'll be facing Ill Health Retirement from work very soon.

I've been unable to do my job due to onset of neurological issues since July last year. I was on sick leave from July - November, when I returned under a "fit note" for amended duties.

Unfortunatly I now have an Occupation Health consultation with my employers Occupational Health service, to discuss what my long term prognosis is for being capable for work.

Realistically, I think Ill Health Retirement is the only possible outcome.  According to manager at work dealing with my case due to restructuring there is no amended duties available (except if you are a manager facing demotion, then a job is created for them...).

I do have my union reps on board, however realistically I think taking IHR is probably the only way forward. At least I'd get a clean break, and be classed as a "good leaver". The package would amount to almost a years wage, which would help tide me over until I start claiming benefits. Plus no stress of trying to fight IHR through tribunals etc.

I certainly will miss my work chums though, as well as the routine of being in work. 

The frustrating thing, is part of me thinks, once I get a diagnosis, I'll be able to get back to 100% fitness again. Realistically though, I don't think this is likely to happen, certainly no improvement in my symptoms since July..  Which since I'm employed as a postie, is a pretty significant thing in terms of my employment.




 

Hi GG, have you been diagnosed yet?

Looking at my Posties, you need a good deal of energy and good mobility for that job.

I took IHR in 2000. I worked for the LA and had 8 months sick leave.

15 years service got me a decent lump sum and small pension. I was 47.

I’m 68 now…life goes on.

Good luck chuck.

Boudsx

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Hi gg, since the beginning of lockdown last year my company have been threatening redundancies and I have considered it. There is no guarantee that we’d be accepted . So I’ve said no to it anyway! As times gone on I’ve slowed down even more so regret not trying for it.I’m 62 so have 4 years to go before drawing my pension.
As you’ve said I could get a years money but I’m only part time , so it’s not loads.
My question is if I decided to ask for IHR does the company you work for automatically give you a leaving package?

Stupid question but I’m always in a quandary! Trying to make the right decision

know what you mean about missing your chums and work routine though. Enjoy your retirement!

Kimx

Hey greengiant, it is a big decision and without the benefit of perfect hindsight a tough one to call, but it sounds like you have a good team working with you. They have a tough balancing act, trying to consider to business interests and your long term health. If they can make adjustments that keeps the business going and you gainfully employed they should try, but if ill health early retirement is seen to be the best option you need to assess your response. It may well become an opportunity. It is always difficult to know when to accept and adapt to change. Wishing you all the best whichever way things go.

Mick

But have you really considered all options?

Your employer is bound by law to make reasonable adjustments.

How long can you get sick pay for - do you have full pay for so long and then go on to half pay - until that is exhausted then you shouldn’t be considering IHR.

If it comes to IHR is the final ‘deal’ negotiable?

The bottom line is you have to work out what is best for you - not what is best for your employer and not best for the Union. (I shouldn’t be too concerned about being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ leaver!)

When you’ve worked out what is the best for you then you may have to fight for it.

It will cost you but I would consider seeing a solicitor who specialises in employment issues for disabled people - if nothing else a solicitor would advise you on what is the best deal available and how to get that deal.

Thanks for the replies.

The Occupation Health nurse was pleasant, and has referred me onto my employer’s Occupation Health Doctor, who will be the one who decides whether my health means that I am likely to face Ill Health Retirement. The standard IHR “Deal” is 34 weeks pay tax free, 9 weeks pay in lieu of notice (taxable), as well payment for my annual leave not taken. So almost a years pay.

So in the meantime I am just going to go with the flow, as the decision could very well be out of my hands depending on what the Occupational Health Doctor recommends.

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An update.
I had the consultation with the occupation health GP today.

Basically, the Occupational Health GP says he cannot make a decision with regards to recommending me to leave the business through ill health retirement, until he has all the facts (that is, I have a diagnosis for him to work from).

So his recommendation to management will be for me to remain doing what I’m doing at work (light duties), for the next 3 months, as hopefully then I’ll have a diagnosis.

Whether management accepts this, or will push for termination of my employment on capability grounds is the next question…

Thanks for update.

I’m following your posts as I’m on the slippery slope towards not being able to work anymore.

I’m a teacher and have been working from home online which has suited me fine.

Going back to school will be challenging as my walking is poor.

Seeing OT and physio tomorrow - all part of collecting evidence.

Hope you manage the next 3 months ok.

Jen

Hi, am very interested in the outcome of this as I am looking to get medical retirement from my job due to MS. Occupational Health will certainly be reluctant to let you go back to work without a diagnosis… They told me the same. However I insisted that I wanted to go back to work, and they backed down. Are there any solicitors that anyone can recommend that specialise in issues for people with MS or disabilities and maybe take the case in a no win no fee basis?

Well, I got my report back from the occupational health GP.

"

Disability Advice
In my Opinion greengiant is not covered by the Equality Act

It is uncertain if greengiant is unlikely to be able to undertake his fully normal duty within the forseeable future. As his management will be aware, in order to be able to advise on qualification of Immediate Pension, the Pensions Act and the Pensions Ombudsman will require the clinician to have sufficient evidence to reach a balance of probability decision. From greengiant’s report on his current status, no such evidence is yet available.

I am unable to a prognosis on when he will be able to return to his full normal duties or recommends steps and adjustments in the absence of a diagnosis and his ongoing investigations.

Follow On Action
no follow on actions required."

In the hands of the union rep now. My fear is it’ll be dismissal on capability grounds, since I’m not covered by the Equality Act, thus not eligible for Ill Health Retirement.

So they don’t think you are capable of doing your normal job. Isn’t that the definition of medical retirement? Have you asked your specialist if they would support you in trying for medical retirement?

As i understand it, to qualify for IHR the OH Team doctors need to be certain you cant do any job again not just the one you are doing right now. That is the case in the public sector.

greengiant - see a solicitor specialising in employment/disability.

sounds like a crappy decision from the OH doc to me.

I wasnt diagnosed when it was decided mutually to retire me on ill health.

boudsx

As an update, I have a meeting with manager, and union rep on Friday to discuss things. I still fear it will be Ill Health Retirement. However it’ll certainly be good to get a resolution, one way or another, as at least it’ll be a weight off my shoulders as I’ll know where I’m standing employment wise.

I hope it all works out for the best…did for me…back in 2000.

Boudsx

GG, IHR is got to be good right? That should mean 90 or 100% pension payout. Unless you’ve made a typo in which case it would be dismissal through poor attendance/performance due to I’ll health. Big difference to your finances depending on that outcome. My experience in this field has shown that your employers OH Team need to be satisfied you can never work again in any capacity before they will sign off on IHR. Good luck.

Hi,

IHR rules differ between schemes and some are more ‘generous’ or have more leeway in their definition of ill health retirement than others.

OH has to adhere to the scheme guidelines and make a determination based on medical evidence provided.

If regrettably someone hasn’t a confirmed diagnosis and therefore prognosis is unclear especially over for whatever timescale the pension scheme dictates then it might be difficult to support.

In terms of Equality Act, MS automatically covered once diagnosed, before then has to be based on whether or not there is evidence to suggest a substantial impairment of day to day activities that is long term or likely to be so e.g. >12 months or recurrent episodes of impairment, discounting the effect of any therapy someone might be taking.

It is for an employer to consider, based on advice if someone is covered by Equality Act - they don’t have to follow OH advice (tho’ that might be unusual) - ultimately only a Tribunal can make a determination if there remains a dispute about status.

With regard to IHR, my company offers two sorts. IHR with immediate access to pension if I am deemed by OH to be unable to work in any capacity ever again. Or IHR as just a lump sum payment (34 weeks wages, plus 9 to 12 weeks pay in lieu of notice, plus annual leave which hasn’t been taken), if I am deemed to just be unable to do my usual duties at work.

Anyway, I had a meeting today, along with union rep.

IHR isn’t on the cards at the moment, due to them needing me to assist with admin work over the next few months due to office revisions. During that process, they’ll also see what position they could find for me in the office, once staffing / duties etc are figured out.

That process should be complete by June / July. Hopefully by then I’ll at least be more mobile, and not needing a crutch to walk with, which would also help with regards to redeployment.

Short term, if there isn’t enough office work to do, I’d either need to go off sick, or use up some of my annual leave from the 2020-2021 leave period (120 hours still to take!) - I think I’d rather burn off the annual leave, than go on sick leave again, as (a) I’d drop down to half pay, and it’d also count towards attendance stage reviews.

So at least a bit of breathing space for a few months yet.

That is good news. So glad there is admin work for you for the next few months, and that they are thinking of further ahead as to how you can be redeployed. It sounds positive, and that they want to keep you on, and will be considered in their plans. I bet that feels like a very small weight lifted off your shoulder.