Civil Service Ill Health Retirement — Scope | Disability forum
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Civil Service Ill Health Retirement

BikerPete
BikerPete Community member Posts: 4 Listener
Hi everyone, I am a 52 year old civil servant with a diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder. My employer, the Home Office, has supported me throughout the last 18 months but since March 2022 I've been completely unable to work. Following occupational health advice that I'm unable to return to my own job or do any other at any time in the foreseeable future I have been put forward for medical retirement. 

The Scheme medical adviser has reviewed the application, agreed that I'm unable to work and meet the definition of disability but refused the application for ill health retirement on the basis that I may become well enough to return to work before normal retirement age - in other words my disability may not be permanent. This is justified by the fact that I have been referred to a number of treatment options. However the waiting list for these treatments is a number of years. (My doctors estimate 3-4 years.) 

The scheme provides for review every five years and also provides for a temporary award pending future review. If the concern is that I may be fit for work after my treatment I would have expected that I should qualify for a temporary award until such time as that treatment has taken place - following which a review should take place to reassess me. 

Instead, this justification of being unable to prove permanence is being used to justify an outright refusal. Has anyone had a similar issue and advise how best to approach this on appeal? Also, should we seek legal advice as well as trying to obtain further medical evidence? 
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Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 11,326 Disability Gamechanger
    @BikerPete hi and welcome to scope I have no advice to offer all I would suggest is have you discussed this with your union? assuming you belong to one of the civil service unions?
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  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Scope Member Posts: 43,975 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @bikerpete, welcome to the forum, are you a member of a union,  that can act on your behalf?  I think you need to get some proper advice and someone to represent you with this. Personally I would challenge it.
  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    Morning @BikerPete welcome to our great group, I would echo the same as the above Union.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community 

    Medical retirement is a minefield and diffetent conditions for each pension provider 

    Most will refuse if there is chance of recovery b4 retirement age is reached as medical retirement is suggesting you are no linger fit to work in any capacity 

    Also having a pension will affect your eligibility to certain benefits so you need to check out what benefits you could claim and how your pension could affect them 

    I suggest cab or welfare rights or a benefits calculator found on gov website b4 deciding anything 


  • BikerPete
    BikerPete Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks. Once resolved I doubt I'd be entitled to anything other than PIP which is why I'm planning to fight it as hard as I can.  You're right that the issue is about the permanence of the condition but the scheme rules allow for an interim award if the permanence of the condition can't be assessed.  Basically I need to appeal with more medical evidence. 
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    My point was that it isn't always best to take a pension before pension age as there will be penalties 

    I was inferring you check benefit entitlement without taking your pension to see if you would get sufficient support until you reach pension age and leave your pension alone 
  • Siwheels73
    Siwheels73 Scope Member Posts: 746 Pioneering
    Hi @BikerPete, I am also an ex-Civil Servant, who left 11 years ago. I was being pushed into Medical Retirement, butI resisted, repeatedly through the PCS. Eventually, after being stubborn, I was offered redundancy, which I grabbed and ran for the hills.
  • SueHeath
    SueHeath Community member Posts: 12,420 Disability Gamechanger
    Morning @BikerPete my pension is with the council. I am at the moment seeing if i can go for any package with my pension, just looking at taking my lump sum and leaving the pension part till i am 66yrs my true pension age, i am 65 at the moment.
    I am saying all this because i am looking through all my paper work at the moment, from the pension scheme.
    I never realised that it costs the firm and pension company more money if you have to retire early through ill health.
    If it is agreed the firm carries on paying funds into your pension pot so there is no impact on your pension when you reach your proper age. Except the reduction of your part.
    With this in mind I can understand why Councils/Gov are reluctant for you to go this way as your only 52, it was an eye opener to me.
    It may be better going down the same rout as Siwheels as mentioned. 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    BikerPete said:
    Thanks. Once resolved I doubt I'd be entitled to anything other than PIP which is why I'm planning to fight it as hard as I can.  
    New style ESA if you have a complete NI record for 2019-20 and 2020-21 and you are found to have a health condition that limits your ability to work. Any pension income over £85/week will reduce ESA entitlement.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • BikerPete
    BikerPete Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks everyone,  I think the rules for different pension schemes may vary.  As I understand mine, I would get my full pension as if I retired at 67. They just have to pay it for considerably longer.  Mine was denied on the basis that the assessor felt my condition might not be permanent. My challenge at appeal is to demonstrate this. I was just trying to understand if anyone else had similar experiences, how you dealt with them and whether you used lawyers in the process
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    You are welcome @BikerPete. It is the very least you deserve. If we can do anything else to help please don't hesitate to let us know.

    Unfortunately, I can't share my experiences because I've not had similar experiences. However, hopefully, someone will be able to share their similar experiences with you  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • Bailey01
    Bailey01 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    How do you apply for medical retirement in the civil service?
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    I am afraid I do not have the answer to your question @Bailey01. I mainly wanted to respond to let you know I have heard you and seen your question. 

    I have, however, find some information on the Civil Pensions Scheme's website which you might hopefully find helpful. 

    Additionally, I am hoping people with more experience and knowledge in this area will be able to respond to you soon.

    In the meantime, please don't hesitate to let us know if we can do anything else to help. We are all here for you and listening to you  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Campaigns Posts: 12,488 Disability Gamechanger
     Welcome to the community @bailey01 :) How are you doing today?

    I was going to point you to the same page as @l_volunteer helpfully has. Here's the section from that page about how to apply for ill health retirement:

    How to apply for ill health retirement

    First, you should speak to your employer. Your employer must tell you about your right to apply for ill health retirement and if they intend to refer you for it. 

    Your manager or HR department will guide you through each stage of the ill health retirement application process. 

    You and your employer will need to complete the IHR1 - Application for an Ill Health Retirement Assessment form.

    The What to Expect Guide to Ill Health Retirement tells you what’s involved in each stage of the application and how long things usually take.

    More information about the ill health retirement application process be found in the Ill Health Retirement Guide for Members.

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  • sarahmust76
    sarahmust76 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    @BikerPete, did you manage to resolve your situation? What was the outcome?
  • paulina8
    paulina8 Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    @BikerPete Hello BikerPete, how disappointing for you.  But don't give up.  If you have to face the DWP at any time in the future you'll need to train your 'determination muscle' to have some stamina so start now I'd suggest.  Checkout the pension scheme to which you belong first.  Read their rules and guide book.  Civil Service ones are usually online. The Civil Service sends one to be assessed and I went to a separate clinic from my workplace and saw a doctor who assessed me.  You may be entitled to a second opinion. 

    When I was Pensions officer in the NHS, if a member of staff was awarded early retirement on ill health grounds, their line manager's budget was impacted direct.  So your employer do far has supported you but they are your employer and they may be financially impacted by your leaving. If there is provision for an interim award, as you suggest, then that proviso had been included for a reason.  When you had the medics letter saying that they wouldn't retire you yet, what options did they offer to you going forwards? For example second opinion, disputing first opinion with more evidence, coming back at a later date if you get worse etc etc.  Presumably you cannot do your job so what do they expect you to do?  Just leave?  No!  Speak to your Union rep. Speak to HR at work.  Speak to your Pension Officer at work and call the Civil Service Pension Scheme direct. Good luck and don't give up.  If you leave and apply for benefits you will probably receive more than just PIP....such as ESA Wrag or ESA Support.  Do your research!  
  • TomDon
    TomDon Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    Planning on retiring from HMPPS and I am unsure IF I go for another job will this effect any pension OR payment I receive. Medical Retirement or Medical Inefficiency, what's the differences?
    Thank you for reading...
  • BikerPete
    BikerPete Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi folks - apologies for the long silence on the chain that I started. To update, yes, the pension situation is resolved which is a huge weight off my mind. To @TomDon point, I don't think that there is a difference between medical retirement and medical inefficiency. In both cases I guess the organisation is letting you go because your condition means that you're unable to do the job any longer. 

    I had to go through an appeal process and provide additional medical evidence. Key points that I've learnt in the process are; 
    1. your evidence needs to demonstrate the extent to which you are likely to remain unable to work until state pension age - this is a critical factor which massively affects the likelihood of a successful application. 
    2. Depending on your scheme you may have to demonstrate that you (a) are unable to do your own or a comparable job and are likely to remain unable to do so until state pension age. or (b) that you're unlikely to undertake any reasonably paid employment until state pension age. Where there are two types of award, (a) may be considerably lower than an award made under (b)
    3. Depending on your scheme there may be a review process after an initial period. 
    4. Different schemes will have their own decision making criteria but for people working within central government who are covered by the principal civil service pension scheme, the likelihood of an individual's future ability to work is determined on the balance of probability - ie it is more unlikely (over 50%) that you won't be able to work again - basically for your medical evidence, your doctors need to be able to demonstrate this probability in order for you to receive an award. 

    Hope this is helpful

  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,361 Scope online community team
    Thank you for updating us @BikerPete, it's always good to hear outcomes and also to get some detailed info about the situation and how we can advise or support people in the future! Always greatly appreciated.

    I'm glad it worked out for you :)
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  • Christctc
    Christctc Community member Posts: 2 Listener


    BikerPete said:
    Hi folks - apologies for the long silence on the chain that I started. To update, yes, the pension situation is resolved which is a huge weight off my mind. To @TomDon point, I don't think that there is a difference between medical retirement and medical inefficiency. In both cases I guess the organisation is letting you go because your condition means that you're unable to do the job any longer. 

    I had to go through an appeal process and provide additional medical evidence. Key points that I've learnt in the process are; 
    1. your evidence needs to demonstrate the extent to which you are likely to remain unable to work until state pension age - this is a critical factor which massively affects the likelihood of a successful application. 
    2. Depending on your scheme you may have to demonstrate that you (a) are unable to do your own or a comparable job and are likely to remain unable to do so until state pension age. or (b) that you're unlikely to undertake any reasonably paid employment until state pension age. Where there are two types of award, (a) may be considerably lower than an award made under (b)
    3. Depending on your scheme there may be a review process after an initial period. 
    4. Different schemes will have their own decision making criteria but for people working within central government who are covered by the principal civil service pension scheme, the likelihood of an individual's future ability to work is determined on the balance of probability - ie it is more unlikely (over 50%) that you won't be able to work again - basically for your medical evidence, your doctors need to be able to demonstrate this probability in order for you to receive an award. 

    Hope this is helpful

    Super helpful mate and glad it all worked out for you. I am currently going through early retirement due to I’ll health with the Department for business and trade. I have ADHD, and ptsd (complex depression and anxiety). 

    I have a feeling I will need to appeal as it’s quite tricky to prove that this will last until retirement. It’s been constant for 11 years now. 

    Any advice on info I should gather before the paperwork is submitted to the SMA to try and combat them coming back with the same reason. As you. 

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