ill health retirement

Hi everyone

Can I please get some advice?

I’ve had MS for 22 years now and followed the pattern of 15 - 17 years of R&R and am now in secondary progressive.

Have worked in Local Authority for the last 26 years but been off sick since end September and I can’t see me being able to go back.

I am struggling to walk, my balance is terrible, MS fatigue has taken over my life and I have little energy.

My Neuro and MS Nurse are well aware of my situation - I met with them last week.

I spoke with my manager this week and she is going to phone me back next week after speaking with Human Resources about my situation.

I have paid into the Local Government Pension scheme throughout the 26 years so could hopefully leave through ill health retirement but do I raise this option or is it better if the suggestion comes from work?

Any ideas please?

Thanks Sue xx


It sounds like you are on track with ideas and plans. If your line manager is any good and supportive they should consider all the options. HR should know the rules and regs. I think that as you have been in the job for this long through thick and thin they will understand if you can not continue. I think they might find it refreshing for you to show that you are looking for a solution. If the employer is facing cost cutting you may find that they appreciate the option of ill health early retirement (IHER) rather than redundancy or other termination options. (it allows them to manage numbers and optimise budgets) I would be prepared to mention the option if your line manager or HR dont.

As an aside I can say that when my line manager and I knew that it would be detrimental to my health to stay at work, he worked with me and HR to get the IHER in place. To some extent staying at work had kept me going, so when I stopped some of my symptoms gave me a bit of a kicking. However it was the right thing to do.

I whish you all the best Mick

I retired from teaching at the end of May after being off sick since October 2014. I have PPMS (diagnosed 2 years ago) I had really good support from my Head teacher, who got HR involved right from the beginning. When my symptoms got worse I was referred to the County Councils OH doctor (outsourced to a private company). In my case that was very important, he saw me three times and witnessed my health decline, despite all the help that had been put in place for me. On the third visit, I was suffering from Optic Neuritis, he said that’s it, do not go back to work. So he wrote a report that set out the case for my retirement. Previous to teaching I had worked for local govt. and his report was useful in persuading two local authorities to pay my pension early. So my advice in a nutshell is to try and see the council’s OH doctor and get their support. If I can help in any way then please PM me, and good luck!

Thanks so much for your helpful comments Mick and onmyown as i feel totally out of my comfort zone talking about giving up work!

Which is really daft as over the last few months I have dragged myself into work and heck it’s been a struggle and I’ve finally realised i can’t do it anymore!

Oh and yes my LA is seeking efficiencies so maybe IHER is a good option!

Sue xx

I am sorry that you feel you are finally running out of road at work. I know that feeling (although I didn’t last as long as you have). I would suggest letting them know in a low-key way that, if they were to propose Ill-Health Retirement to you (and IHR is, as you have inferred, technically their decision), the suggestion would be well received by you. HR and line managers can, quite rightly, be very shy of saying the IHR words to an employee on long-term sick because they don’t know how the person is going to take it. Preparing the ground a bit can be very helpful for everyone and a cue for sighs of relief all round… Also, it isn’t bad for your morale, taking the initiative. Even if this is the end of the line at work, you are still a person who can discreetly steer things in the right direction rather than passively waiting for it to happen.

Good luck. It’s tough, all this. I really feel for you.


My MS has roughly followed the same time span and pattern as you describe, I also worked for my local authority only I managed 30 years.

About 20 months ago I had to admit to myself that I could no longer carry on at work. After going to my GP and receiving a sick note I went to my manager and told her that unless a miracle occurred I didn’t think I would be returning, she cried I cried then I came home and waited for the long process of being offered early retirement.

They have to go through the official procedures which for me were meeting with my line manager and HR to keep them up to date of my circumstances. They then arranged for me to see the occ health Doctor who assessed me and gave his support for me to be put forward for ill health retirement. I was advised by HR to get as much evidence as possible to support my early retirement which I did by obtaining letters from my GP and my MS nurse ( I don’t have a consultant ). The whole process usually take at least a year although in my case it took eight months. Because I was retiring due to my health my pension was enhanced to what it would have been had I been able to retire at the correct retirement age. About five years ago I reduced my employment from full time to term time hours because I did this due to my health my pension was also enhanced to what it would of been had I not had to do this.

Im assuming you will receive full pay for six months from the local authority when your pay goes down to half pay you then need to apply for Statutory Sick Pay from the DWP, it always struck me as odd that even though I was receiving half pay I still got SSP. When everything is finally done and you receive your pension you will have to inform DWP, they will then work out how much ESA you are to receive. For every pound over £85.00 per week you receive in private pension they will deduct 50p from your ESA.

If you would rather not initiate pension discussions then wait for them to broach the subject, I guess it depends on your relationship with your manager, I worked closely with my managers so felt I had to be honest in that I was as sure as I could be that I wouldn’t be returning, although I don’t remember actually saying I was hoping for early retirement. Like you I was unsure of how things would progress I remember asking the same thing you are asking now.

I tend to ramble a bit so I hope all the above makes sense please feel free to private message me if you want anything clarifying. It is an emotional time when you finally accept that you can’t carry on, for me as soon as I made the decision I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted, I started sleeping better consequently I felt less drained and exhausted, my condition has continued to decline but I cope with it better.

Best wishes and remember you need to look after you

Jan x


Thanks so much for your helpful comments Mick and onmyown as i feel totally out of my comfort zone talking about giving up work!

Which is really daft as over the last few months I have dragged myself into work and heck it’s been a struggle and I’ve finally realised i can’t do it anymore!

Oh and yes my LA is seeking efficiencies so maybe IHER is a good option!

Sue xx

[/quote] remember if you have to stop work due to ill health you will be entitled to a enhanced pension rate on your works or private pension I have it its worth looking into george

Thanks I really appreciate your responses and I don’t feel I am going through this on my own any more!

Unfortunately my Manager was made redundant 2 x weeks ago and my new manager is my previous manager’s manager!

But that’s the way of LA’s at the moment - they are all looking to make massive budget cuts.

Don’t know if this would change the way they deal with me?

I had no idea it took so long to go through IHER! But yes I will receive 6 months full pay followed by 6 months 1/2 pay.

After reading all your great responses i think i’ll wait till I speak to my manager next week and listen to what options she offers. But I will defo show an interest in IHER if she mentions it or I will suggest it as I know I just can’t physically return to work.

I am already feeling relieved at not having to drag myself into work and am sure, like you Jan, it will be a huge weight lifted off me once it is sorted!

Thanks again!


Do you have a Union to speak to about the procedure, as they should be familiar with this sort of thing.

1 Like

Hi Whammel

Hey thanks for that suggestion yes I’ll contact them!!

I’ve paid into the Union for years but never had much to do with them!

Sue xx

I worked in the NHS for 28 years but had to take Level 1 ill health retirement last January the process did take a while but has worked out the best solution for me as i now have the option to take part time hours elsewhere that will suit my symptoms

It’s a horrible realisation, not being able to work anymore. I retired 4 years ago. I knew people very senior in the HR business who gave me advice. I do recall them saying it was very important for the retirement suggestion to come from the employer. I would strongly suggest you seek up to date advice. The ms society helpline & I know there is a booklet re work etc would be a good starting point.

best of luck & try to remain positive, it sounds like you’ve been a real trooper, you should be very proud.

Hi Sue

I retired through ill health from the NHS back in 2012. If I can be of any help. Please PM me. I know exactly what you mean about being out of your comfort zone. It all went smoothly in the end. Just got to remember some helpful tips to make it even smoother.

Take care.

Shazzie xx

1 Like

Sue - familiarise yourself with the different retirement schemes that may be available to you and get the best deal -

Don’t feel apologetic for having to take this step and be aware that you may have to fight for the best outcome – the union should advise her.

Don’t assume that because you have m.s. the managers etc are going to fall over themselves being helpful - most I’m sure will be, some may not.

Apologies for being a tad cynical!


I wanted to post an update re: my earlier message on retiring early through ill health.

My manager contacted me yesterday and said that following her meeting with HR they suggest that I take retirement through ill health as being the best option for me.

She then told me that she would refer me to Occupational Health via on line referral - has anyone heard of this please??

Oh and that Occupational Health would then contact either my Consultant, MS Nurse or GP for a report on my condition / situation.

I have contacted my Trade Union and they have said they would support me.

Does this seem like it is going in the right direction? And is it up to me to contact my Pension Provider?




I work for the police as a civilian and I am going through the same process as you.

The OH doctor will probably want to see you and take a history. He/she will then call for reports from your GP and consultant. The on-line referral you mention only refers to the method your HR section will use to contact the OH department. Your case will be referred to an independent doctor who will assess whether you qualify for the upper or lower tier of pension award. The two tiers are as follows:

Be permanently incapable of efficiently carrying out the duties of your employment because of illness or injury - Tier 1 (lower tier) pension

Be permanently incapable of engaging in regular employment of like duration to your current duties because of the illness or injury - Tier 2 (upper tier) pension

The independent doctor will normally wish to interview you before recommending the award to your HR department. They will then arrange with you a leaving date and, more importantly, your pension provision. You should receive a very decent lump sum as you have worked 26 years for the council and your pension will start as soon as you retire.

In my case, I have very recently seen the independent doctor and she told me at the interview that she will be recommending the higher award. I am 61 and have PPMS. I would be very surprised if you do not receive the same award. I am currently off sick as well.

I appreciate your concerns about the process as I felt the same, initially, about the police HR. However your HR department should be able to handle the procedure efficiently, even though it may take some weeks to reach the final settlement.

I am glad you are an union member as it can provide very useful support and you can always ask a representative to attend meetings with you. I did for all my meetings with HR during the initial stages of my application.

Best of luck. I am always ready to help, if within my power.


Thanks Alun for your detailed response - it really explains things.

It sounds daunting but I guess I have to go through it!.

Hope all goes well for you?




Although it sounds daunting the thing to remember is that the decision is made on the strength of a report provided by an independent doctor based on an interview with you and evidence supplied by your own health professionals. The independent doctor is not in the pay of your employer. I may be an innocent abroad but I did find that reassuring.

Don’t forget to use your union which I presume is UNISON. It will have experience in this area as early medical retirement is not uncommon. It also has access to legal expertise in the unlikely event that it should it be required. Hang in there and it should work out in the end.

Although I still enjoyed going to work for four mornings a week it was a great relief when I decided that I could not do it any more. Like you I suffer with fatigue and poor balance. My right leg is permanently painful and I will be trying out a drug for neuropathic pain called Gabapentin once the prescription is ready. Some of the possible side effects sound unpleasant but still worth a go. I find that everything takes so much longer to do, such as getting up. Just before I stopped working I was allowing at least two hours to get ready to leave the house for work. I was washed out before I even arrived. Ridiculous.

Let me know how you get on with your application and I will update with my progress as well from time to time.

Best wishes


Hi Sue

That’s exactly how my ill health retirement started. My HR contacted Occ Health and they suggested ill health, then I was asked to complete Form AW33E which I downloaded from the Internet. Then I had telephone assessments by Atos.

Occ Health and HR contacted my Pension provider who sent me a pension forecast.

Hope it goes well for you.

Shazzie xx