medical retirement queries

dear all,

hope everyone is happy and as well as we can be.

can i call on your collective relevant experience please? i love my job (secondary school teacher, head of a small department), but have to be practical and logical about it now, especially since my line manager mooted a few weeks ago about possible medical retirement. i can’t actually go on like this any more as i am failing to go into work- 4 days in a row now, and have had 35 additional days’ worth of absence since september. they’ve been really good about it on the whole but enough is getting enough.

anyway, to ask on a more practical level, has anyone on this site had to give up work or been medically retired? if so, what is the process of stopping work? am i correct in thinking that this has to come from employers? if you have been medically retired, how has this worked out for you? have you managed to live on whatever you’ve been granted? has your pension kicked in? sorry to overload on the questions but i thought if anyone knows about this, someone here will…

hugs and best wishes, fluffyollie xx


I taught in a primary special school when I was diagnosed with PPMS. I started sick leave in the April 2011 and was diagnosed in the September. I was referred to Occupational Health and with their support did try a phased return which didn’t really work but it was something I felt I had to try and do. After this I applied for medical retirement which went through very quickly and smoothly. I was awarded the higher level

I’ve never heard of anyone applying for it whilst still working. On a financial level you need to take full advantage of your sick leave entitlement! When you go down to half pay you can then apply for ESA which boosts your pay up a bit. Occ Health will work with you to complete the forms for Teachers Pensions but do send as many medical letters as you’ve got. As far as I’m aware it’s not the school that will instigate the process, it comes from your meetings with Occ Health who will advise you.

My lump sum paid off the mortgage and with my pension and DLA I manage quite well. My pension kicked in as soon as my sick leave finished so I didn’t lose out at all.

This seems a bit garbled, the brain isn’t working well today but if I can answer anything else then please ask.

Sarah x

Hi Fluffyollie

I retired through ill health in 2012 from the NHS. All reasonable adjustments had been made and failed. I had to be off work sick for 12 months before them would consider ill health. I fell at work at broke my foot so I was off the 6 months before the head of my dept asked me to consider ill health retirement so the ball started rolling while I was off. It was quite easy in the end, although it was very stressful. If you need any info PM me.

Shazzie xx

I too took early retirement from teaching after 12 months sick leave. Can’t possibly speculate on if your pension will suffice because it all depends how long you’ve worked. I retired after only 20 years so it’s nowhere near what it would have been but not a poke in the eye either. Think carefully if the issue of working part time crops up because this will effect your pay out if you still decide to retire.

The first move is to go off sick - you will get 6 months on full pay and 6 months on half pay - after this the question of medical retirement will be resolved.

I was sad to retire but at the same time it was an enormous relief.


I was retired on the grounds of ill-health a few years ago. The terms are, as others have said, as per your particular pension scheme rules - those will cover both eligibility criteria and the way in which your accrued pensionable service translates into ill-health pension. IHR is usually something that (technically) the employer ‘does’ to the employee - although in practice it is often an approach that suits all round. Certainly in my case there was general agreement that we had all run out of road.

When the time has come, it isn’t usually that hard a decision - not that one usually has much real choice… When things have been an awful struggle for a long time, it is a relief to lay the burden down.


I worked for my local council and contributed to the local government pension fund. I had been struggling at work for quite a while (as you have), I finally decided enough was enough, I went to my doctor and explained that I felt I could no longer continue the daily struggle to get to work, I explained how I was affected and how I was stressing, worrying and losing sleep as I could no longer do my job to an acceptable level. He told me he was happy to sign me sick for as long as was necessary. I did tell my manager that unless a miracle happened I wouldn’t be back to work, she had supported me during my decline and had in fact given me a more senior role (less strenuous) ten years ago when my MS really started to effect my life, so I felt I had to be honest as to my intentions. There is a procedure that has to take place when employers end your contract due to your health. Usually you will have a meeting with HR and Management to see what is the latest situation re your health, In my case the next step was to refer me to an Occ Health Doctor who assesses whether you will be able to return. He asked me if anything had been done to enable me to continue working and how I was on a daily basis. His report will say if he thinks you should be retired due to your health. My Manager stressed to me I needed letters from my GP and my MS Nurse these were to be used in deciding if I was to be medically retired and at what level. I was fortunate enough to receive an enhanced pension at the highest level. It took nine months from the day I went sick to the day I was officially retired, it would have been longer had I not said from the beginning I would not be returning to work.

You need to think about finances, being a teacher you prob have a good pension scheme which will mean any ESA you receive will be drastically reduced if not taken away altogether. I think we have touched on this subject previously please feel free to PM me if you would like further details.

Best wishes

Jan x

PS if you go sick now it will probably be a month or so before an initial sick meeting takes place giving you plenty of time to assess how you feel and if you will ever be able to continue working. You don’t have to decide anything yet.

Hopefully nearing the end of my early retirement saga. Primary school teacher and SENCO. Saw OH doctor 3 times in total. After the first two visits my Head made sure everything was in place at school to make life easier. But stress was still too much and after having Optic Neuritis confirmed, I saw OH doctor 3rd time, who said that was that, and not to go back to school. I’ve had 6 months full pay, now on half pay (which is still more than my pension will be! Only been teaching for 12 years). The company who is deciding on County Councils behalf if I qualify for early retirement, has agreed, so I’m just waiting for TP to get their act together as to when I can get it. I will go up to October half term on half pay, as I haven’t yet resigned, so hoping they sort it out soon. Millions of letters from consultants, ms nurse etc needed to help the decision, so make sure you have all that to hand before you start.

Good luck


I can’t comment on teachers pensions but my pension was enhanced to the level it would have been had my health not stopped me working. Which was a shock albeit a good one.

Jan x

With Teachers’ Pensions if you are awarded the enhanced level you get half of the amount of years between now and normal retirement age if that makes sense!

Sarah x


I think you need to consult your union now to get accurate, up to date advice.

If you work at a local authority school then it would probably be helpful to have a chat with HR at the local authority.

Don’t make any decisions until you have good, accurate, current information on which to base them.


Obviously plus what you’ve already paid into the scheme!

Thanks shazzie, that is worth knowing. Is that 12 continuous months or did they take it as the sum total of 12 months ? Fluffyollie xx