I have just successfully concluded a Stage 2 Local Government Pension Scheme – Ill Health Retirement Appeal for my client. Read on to see how I helped achieve a positive outcome.
What is Ill Health Retirement?
Many employers offer a benefit to their employees termed “ill-health retirement”. Where available, this benefit can provide immediate access to pension funds if an employee is too unwell to continue working.
Should You Apply For Ill Health Retirement?
The first thing to consider when looking at whether to apply for ill-health retirement is if you have exhausted all other options. This often involves a tactical consideration of your position to see if you could work in a modified way, or with reduced hours.
If you believe that you could work in a modified way this must be explored properly with occupational health and if possible, input from your own medical experts. If your employer fails to take on board your suggestions here, you may wish to consider potential claims for unfair dismissal or disability discrimination rather than looking to pursue a route of ill-health retirement.
Only when you have carefully considered your position from a tactical perspective should you consider applying for ill health retirement. If you have reached the point of being unable to work, despite having explored all reasonable adjustments, ill health retirement may be right for you.
What Is the Criteria?
Each employer is likely to have slightly different requirements. However, looking at the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations 2013 as an example, they confirm that to qualify for early payment, certain conditions need to be met which are:
- As a result of ill health you are permanently incapable of discharging the duties of your employment; and
- As a result of ill health you are not immediately capable of undertaking gainful employment.
There are then several tiers which you could be allocated into. Tier one is available to members who are unlikely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment before normal retirement age. Tier two if a member is unlikely to be capable of undertaking any gainful employment within three years but is likely to be able to undertake gainful employment before retirement age. Tier three if the member is likely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment within three years of leaving employment or before normal retirement age if earlier.
How To Apply?
Each employer will have their own rules. You should speak to them about the criteria and application process. It is important to be as prepared as possible. Therefore, if you are considering an application, ensure you have as much medical evidence of incapacity as possible. This can be from occupational health, your own GP, and any other treating specialists such as consultants, counsellors, or therapists.
Is The Process Difficult?
All the above sounds straight forward. However, over the last 15 years I have helped many clients who have had their applications for ill health retirement unfairly rejected. The most recent example was a local authority employee who was wrongly awarded no benefits. Following a Stage 2 complaint I drafted, they were re-assessed and awarded Tier 2.
If you have a dispute or are unhappy about being refused ill health retirement, there tends to be internal dispute resolution procedures (IDRP) you are required to follow. I can help you with these procedures and take you through the stages to what I hope will be a positive outcome.
If you remain dissatisfied following completion of your employer’s internal dispute resolution procedures, you may need to submit a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman. Again, I can help with this process should it be necessary.
Recent 5* Feedback – Ill-Health Retirement Case
What were the circumstances that caused you to initially look for a legal adviser?
With various medical issues, my employer would not contemplate I’ll health retirement.
How has Sophie Goodwill helped you?
Sophie used the appeal system, complied the right medical evidence, instructed supporting specialists to report and supported all the way to a great result.
Have you seen the outcome you were hoping for?
The outcome I was hoping for is the final result.
What could they have done better?
Happy with service received. Very knowledgeable in area of employment law and would highly recommend.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you have started (or are thinking of starting) an application or appeal for ill health retirement, call us for a free, no obligation discussion on 01522 440412 or send an email to email@example.com and we would be happy to speak to you. For more information about ill health retirement, visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/workplace-problems/ill-health-retirement/
Director, Lincs Law Employment Solicitors