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. If you are struggling to continue working and feel ill health retirement might be an option for you, read on to see how we can help…..
Is Ill Health Retirement for You?
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. Suggestions to think about here include working reduced hours, working from home, or perhaps moving into another role.
If you believe that you could work in a modified way this should 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, 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. At this point, and just to be clear, you should be satisfied that there really are no adjustments possible and that you genuinely feel unable to continue in your role.
How to Prepare?
In making an application for ill health retirement, the key thing is to be well prepared. 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 in order 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.
Be warned at this very early stage, your employer will need evidence of your eligibility. Again, dependent on which scheme you are in, they are likely to need a report from a medical specialist, known as a “IRMP” (an independent registered medical practitioner) who ought to be a specialist in occupational health.
The role of the IRMP is to assess whether an employee meets the conditions for early retirement. Therefore, they should address the two questions above in relation to permanent incapacity for their own employment, and for how long they are incapable of other work (gainful employment).
A common problem in applications of this nature is that the IRMP does not have sufficient information about an employee’s condition and any exhausted treatment options. Therefore, in readiness for any application, ensure you fully understand and can explain to your IRMP details of your condition and all of the treatment options that have been exhausted or which your own treating physician does not consider would work.
Which Tier or Award?
If you are awarded ill health retirement you will be awarded benefits falling into a specified category or tier. Again, just by reference to the Local Government Scheme, they use Tiers. Tier one is available to employees who are unlikely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment before normal retirement age. Tier two if an employee 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 an employee is likely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment within three years of leaving employment or before normal retirement age if earlier.
The benefits you are entitled to receive will depend on the Tier you are allocated into and for this purpose, gainful employment is usually classified as 30 hours per week.
Unhappy with the Outcome?
As I have indicated above, problems can arise in applications for ill health retirement if an employee is not awarded any benefit, but genuinely feel they are unable to return to any kind of work.
Over the last 15 years I have helped a number of clients who have either had their applications rejected outright, or have only been awarded Tier 3, when they considered they should have been awarded at a higher level. You can read my reviews at https://www.vouchedfor.co.uk/solicitor/lincoln/029204-sophie-goodwill.
If you have a dispute or are unhappy about being refused ill health retirement, there tends to be internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP) you are required to follow. Lincs Law Employment Law Solicitors can help you with these procedures and take you through the stages to what we hope will be a positive outcome.
In the event that 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, we can help with this process should it be necessary.
Let Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Help you
If you are in the process of applying for ill health retirement, or have recently had your application rejected, please ring for a free, no obligation, telephone consultation on 01522 440512. Alternatively, for more information about our team and the services we can help you with, visit our website www.lincslaw.co.uk.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
Tags: disability retirement Ill Health Retirement ill health retirement appeal Ill Health Retirement Benefits Independent Registered Medical Practitioner occupational health Pension Ombudsman sophie goodwill Tier One Benefits Tier Three Benefits