Hi all Had a home visit from HR and my line manager this week. I have now been off for 6 months and at my appt with my neuro last week, he told me that due to the location of the latest area of damage, he doesn’t hold out any realistic hope of things changing. HR mentioned medical retirement and said that shortly, he will re refer me to the occi health doctors. Does anyone have any experience of this and what the process is please. Thanks Xx
It depends on your employer/pension arrangements. Most pension schemes have rules to govern when sick scheme members can be retired on ill-health terms, drawing their accrued pension early plus whatever ill-health extra pension their scheme provides. An occupational health physician is typically the ‘gate-keeper’ for IHR qualification - he/she will be the scheme trustees’ advisor on whether a scheme member meets that scheme’s requirements, and will make a recommendation based on his/her assessment plus additional information from the neurologist, or whatever specialism is involved. HR will usually coordinate the whole business and they will be much involved as well, as you know.
Occupational health are chiefly involved in keeping people at work, of course, and they will want to be clear that all the reasonable ways of helping you to get back to work and stay there have been exhausted before considering IHR. But they also have this key role in advising when someone has run out of road in terms of reasonable adjustments etc, and it is time to part company.
For what it is worth, I was very glad to go, having struggled on with a lot of help and encouragement for a good few years. No one wants to go before she has to, and is a difficult decision in theory, but in practice life has ways of making it completely bleeding obvious what needs to happen. Whatever the outcome is for you, I hope things go smoothly for you.
I retired twice - not that long after my diagnosis via a “breakdown in health” partial ill health retirement package when it was deemed that I could no longer do my own job, but I could go elsewhere and do a less demanding job, and then (10 years later) a self-imposed full time retirement when my new career became impossible.
Without a shadow of a doubt, retiring that first time was one of the best decisions I ever made. The second retirement was harder to get to grips with because I knew I would never work again, but needs must and I don’t regret it.
Make sure and read your pension scheme details with a lawyer’s eye. You have to have occupational health on your side if you want to succeed in getting IHR so make sure they have access to everything they need and don’t underplay your symptoms no matter how much you would normally! If you don’t want to retire fully, then see if there is a lower level of retirement in your scheme (like in mine) that will allow you to draw a pension but still do some work. Before you go that route, make sure that you can apply for the pension to be upgraded in the event that your health deteriorates and you can’t work at all (like me) and, if you can’t, that you will be able to cope financially on the lesser pension.
Retiring might be the end of work, but it is just the beginning of other, better(!) ways to spend your time
I retired through Ill Health last year. It took about a year but it was worth it in the end.
I had 6mths off after a bad fall and received many visits from HR and Occ Health. I was already working reduced hours and had lots of adaptions to my workplace to make things easier but it got to the point that these things weren’t helping anymore so HR and Occ Health recommended Ill Health Retirement. I had to have three hospital consultations with Occ Health but these were all done on the telephone and not face to face as they had already been given medical evidence from my neuro.
It wasn’t too frightening so don’t worry. It was a bit drawn out.
Hope this helps.
The process will depend on your organisation, I wonder if it is within the public sector, if so it would be worth contacting and joining the union. They will help you through the process. However HR should be able to talk you through what you can expect. Either way there should be an Ill Health Policy and Procedure that you should be able to follow. Occupational Health are generally GPs who have an interest, knowledge of health and how it impacts on the ability to work. The will probably contact your GP and consultant (with your written permission). If you are a member of the pension scheme you will most likley be able to access your pension and may have years added. Of course all this depends on the employer, your contract, pension scheme etc. etc. But the best place to start is HR, find out who should be your point of contact and stay in touch with them.
Just wanted to say that both an on-going pension or a one-off lump sum can affect your entitlement to benefits such as ESA or your ability to obtain grants such as a Disabled Facilities Grant so worth a thought if you are offered options.
Thanks everyone. I have done nothing but think about this, since the HR visit and have come to the realistic conclusion that medical retirement is best for everyone concerned, including my employer, who at the moment has been a member of staff down in a team of only three, for 6 months. It would enable them to replace me…I don’t even like saying that out load !! However, after many months of complete denial and waiting for a miracle to happen or someone to give me a magic potion, it is increasingly obvious that things are not getting any better and I am not going to be able to return to work. I can’t leave the house unaided due to the constant dizziness, let alone drive. I have also come to the conclusion that, given how stressful my job is, I am unwilling to risk my health by exposing myself to this stress. I assume that my neurologist and possibly my MS nurse will be consulted, in which case would it be a good idea to chat to them about it before the next HR visit in about a months time ? Thanks Xx
I went through this throughout last year.It took a long time to sort but if its local authority feel free to pm me if you want the story.
The upshot was I came on here asking what on earth I was going to do to fill my time when I felt better.
Retired at 44 after working long hard hours since leaving school…
People on here all said within a short time I would come back saying I don’t know where I found the time to work.
Well, faced with no longer being able to drive and not being able to walk far I googled volunteering in my local area.I now help out at a falls prevention group and a gentle exercise class for the elderly held at a local church…and yes I join in and I’m worse than them.I’m glad I have to leave before the end to make the tea!!!
The project is also setting up a befriending group which I am going to be paired up with someone.I can truely empathise with people whose lives have truely changed when the body gives up leaving you housebound.
My health and general wellbeing is tons better than when I was battling on,but there is also an emotional side in the coming to terms with feeling there is a lack of purpose to your life when you finish work.
Make yourself an expert on your pension scheme and working out your monthly expenses so you know how much you need to live on is important,especially if there are different tiers in the scheme.
Another vital bit is find out if your neuro is one who hates people feeling they are being pushed into retirement. If he will write to occy health saying with adjustments there is no reason for you to not work,but you want him to support your need to retire its easier to make sure he is clear what you want from him right from the start.
Mine was a long journey but I would go for the retirement anyday.
Take care Pip
Thanks, Pip I think the salient line in my neuro’s report for my GP, following my recent appt, is; “I would be hopeful that if some of the vertigo settles, this will allow her to return to some form of employment, but only time will tell”. As it has been six months of this, I’m not sure that he is that hopeful !! I am only 41 and never thought that this would be an option but I almost feel relieved that it is and the pressure and stress of worrying about how on earth I could leave work and have no income, is off. Xx
I went for ill health retirement at the age of 40. The employer could not have been more helpful. It was me who suggested it to them and after going through the ‘process’ of the outside 3rd party, ATOS and pensions, it only took 3 months! That was it gone on New Year’s Eve.
As you have mentioned, the stress that the job was bringing far out weighed the good of it. I still use my buzz word of ‘adapt’ from my old job and try and keep a routine going in my ‘new life.’
It’s funny. You come to a point in your mind when you have to ‘move on.’ You can’t fool yourself. I am quite practical and plan. Sometimes, I even plan years in advance to make things easier for myself and my wife.
Hi Marty Thanks for that. I am in an altogether more realistic place than I was when first diagnosed and accept that MS is here to stay. It is not a joke or passing, transient phase !! So I am now concentrating on me and what’s best for me. Selfish as it sounds but I am going to do what it takes to keep me as healthy as is possible. Xx
Yes. I would definitely tell your GP, Neuro and MS Nurse. I did that and they were all really helpful. I was so worried about it all and their support really helped.
I was a medical secretary and my balance and vision got so bad I was getting to work and being brought home most days. It became really stressful and now that it is all sorted life is much easier. I was so scared to retire at the age of 50.
Best of luck with whatever decision you make but it does sound like you have made up your mind. Feel free to PM me if you need to for a chat.