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Hi, my name is Sean66! Does anyone know if I would meet the criteria for ill health retirement?

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Sean66
Sean66 Community member Posts: 5 Listener
edited October 2022 in Work and employment
Morning, I have had cervical foraminal stenosis for around 8 years now on my dominant left side, unfortunately due to changes within my spine it has now gone bilateral so is now affecting both my hands and arms, the MRI said slight root compression, but the way my hands feel is what severe compression causes, my doctor has put me on 900mg of gabapentin a day, which makes me feel quite strange, does anyone know if I would meet the criteria for ill health retirement? I cant really work on the gabapentin as I make safety critical decisions, but would really struggle without the gabapentin.

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  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi and welcome to the community 

    Ill health retirement can be difficult to get approved for as basically you have to evidence you are unable to work in any capacity for the rest of your work age time 

    It is down to the pension provider and they all have different criteria 

    Are there any other roles you could do 

    I would suggest you ask to he referred to oh for work place assessment and they will make recommendations for reasonable adjustments or if they think you meet criteria for retirement 

    Also bear in mind taking a 9ension could affect your eligibility to benefits 
  • Sean66
    Sean66 Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    Hi Janer1967,
    I have several MRI scans the latest one showing bilateral stenosis, within about 15minutes of working on a computer both my hands go numb and I get a severe headache, starting to lose a bit of fine motor function now as well which makes typing difficult. I have an OH assessment on the 26th of this month. At my last session with the companies physio he said he couldn't really help me and referred me back to my GP to see a specialist. I am really bad today with it, just had to take a diazepam that I have for when its bad. I wont be entitled to any benefits with the pension I have. I have been working from home since covid, so my work station is set up perfect for my condition, but I'm really struggling now that it has gone into my right side, not sure if the gabapentin is doing anything, might even be making me worse, shame they wont put diazepam on repeat, as that works right away. I'm 56 now so not that far away from retirement anyways, I find sedentary work or driving long distance's makes the condition worse, I believe movement is key to keeping the symptoms at bay, but obviously its a fine balance to get it right, think I will be coming off the gabapentin soon as it seems to affect my mind which I don't think I can put up with, also seems to give me the shakes every now and then, but could possibly be the stenosis though, used to take amitriptyline, but that did nothing except knock me out, so I knocked that on the head, been drug free for around 6 years with the stenosis, but don't think I can cope with both sides now trapped.  
  • Sean66
    Sean66 Community member Posts: 5 Listener
    Options
    Hi Janer1967,
    I have several MRI scans the latest one showing bilateral stenosis, within about 15minutes of working on a computer both my hands go numb and I get a severe headache, starting to lose a bit of fine motor function now as well which makes typing difficult. I have an OH assessment on the 26th of this month. At my last session with the companies physio he said he couldn't really help me and referred me back to my GP to see a specialist. I am really bad today with it, just had to take a diazepam that I have for when its bad. I wont be entitled to any benefits with the pension I have. I have been working from home since covid, so my work station is set up perfect for my condition, but I'm really struggling now that it has gone into my right side, not sure if the gabapentin is doing anything, might even be making me worse, shame they wont put diazepam on repeat, as that works right away. I'm 56 now so not that far away from retirement anyways, I find sedentary work or driving long distance's makes the condition worse, I believe movement is key to keeping the symptoms at bay, but obviously its a fine balance to get it right, think I will be coming off the gabapentin soon as it seems to affect my mind which I don't think I can put up with, also seems to give me the shakes every now and then, but could possibly be the stenosis though, used to take amitriptyline, but that did nothing except knock me out, so I knocked that on the head, been drug free for around 6 years with the stenosis, but don't think I can cope with both sides now trapped.  
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi again 

    Good you have an oh assessment you will have to see what the outcome is and take it from there 

    I mentioned benefits as an alternative to taking your pension early obviously it would depend on what yoy would be entitled to due to your circumstances 

    I had to stop working at 50 and haven't taken my pension and I'm a single parent 

    Get a benefit check or use a benefits calculator on gov website to see what your entitlement would be without any pension or earnings 

    Have you looked at claiming pip at all it depends on how your condition affects your daily living 
  • Sean66
    Sean66 Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    Morning Janer1967,
    funny you say about the OH assessment, I asked my Manager what questions he asked OH as when i had one before my then manager did a page and a half of questions, so OH spent the whole assessment trying to answer them instead of speaking to me, apparently the questions are already set by the company now,
    are you capable of doing your role?
    if no is it going to be a long term illness?
    would you recommend retirement?
    so sounds simple enough this time, hopefully I get someone that actually understands the condition.
    Must be tough being a single parent on benefits nowadays, with the price of everything going up, cant remember if the government have also done a U turn on raising the benefits in line with inflation, hopefully not. My wife is currently going through the PIP assessment process as she has Meniere's disease, so if she got that and my pension we should be fine as you only need what you need. Sounds like they are trying to get rid of anyone with an underlying condition looking at those questions, oh well I shall see how it goes next week.

  • 6080
    6080 Community member Posts: 20 Connected
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    Hi Sean 66, hope you don't mind me asking but how did you get on with a request for Ill health retirement, did the employer agree to it? If you have a trade union, a health & safety rep, did you involve them for support with your request? They can be really helpful.

    I was prescribed amitriptyline and pregabalin for nerve pain but like you, the side effects were horrendous. I wasn't functioning well at work. I was falling asleep during lunch, drowsy in the mornings  which caused problems driving. I had to come off them as I couldn't focus properly and driving felt dangerous. I ended up with a sickness absence and decided I had to get off them. I think they are okay to be on if you don't need to work but brutal if you do need to be up and ready early. 
  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @6080

    I'm afraid you've commented on an older thread. Hopefully the OP will be notified and comment back.

    I just wanted to comment to say I'm sorry the prescriptions didn't help you. Are you still working with your GP to find something that could? 
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • Sean66
    Sean66 Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    HI 6080,
    Yes eventually I finally got medical retirement in May this year. I'm now taking a ton of gabapentin, but trying to wean off of it, my main problem is still my hands, seems like i have a lack of circulation to them, had nerve conduction tests they were all fine, Dr said its pretty obvious where the problem is coming from,
    presume she meant my neck, will need to go back to the GP as I cant go through winter with my hands like that.
    Cheers
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