Ill-Health Retirement – the top 5 things to consider
June 30 2021
Ill health and the inability to work is a scary prospect, so how would YOU cope if faced with the unthinkable? Would you be able to take Ill-Health Retirement and if so how would you go about it?
Here are five commonly asked questions along with our answers, which we hope you will find useful:
What is Ill-Health Retirement?
Answer: If you are unable to carry on working through ill health, it may be possible to take your pension benefits earlier than would normally be expected – a situation known as Ill-Health Retirement. The qualifying criteria may vary from pension scheme to pension scheme but generally means you are no longer able to do your normal job due to mental or physical illness.
Do I qualify for Ill-Health Retirement?
Answer: In order to meet the criteria you will need to undergo a specialist assessment of your situation. This assessment must provide evidence to trustees of your pension scheme that you are no longer physically or mentally fit to continue your job and that there is no suitable alternative employment available,
It will need to establish that you’re permanently incapable of working and show that all available treatment and medication options have been explored which could enable you to return to work and continue your job until your normal pension age.
The assessment will be thorough and must provide answers to any questions trustees of your pension scheme may ask, and it’s worth remembering that applications for Ill-Health Retirement are often subject to an appeals process.
All reasonable workplace adjustments to accommodate a return to work must be proved to have been investigated along with all relevant treatments and alternative job roles as part of the required evidence.
What sort of physical and mental conditions stop me from being able to do my job?
Answer: The answer to this is not straight forward. Very few people live and work without any ailments what-so-ever and so it is therefore correct to say that the majority of us live and work with some illness or condition that we cope with.
Unless you have been diagnosed with a life limited illness, which would almost guarantee that you meet the criteria for Ill-Health retirement, what we are talking about are degrees, severity and permanence of incapacity.
The Equality Act 2010 seeks to protect those with illness and or disability from prejudice at work, therefore thousands of people work with illness and or disability every day with reasonable adjustments,
As above, each pension scheme will have its own criteria but the focus is always on severity, lack of improvement to a range of treatments and permanence until retirement age.
How old do I have to be to consider Ill-Health Retirement rather than sick pay?
Answer: People can now access their private pensions at the age of 55 and, providing the criteria is met, it is possible to obtain Ill-Health Retirement prior to 55 – but this is dependent on the circumstances of your pension scheme.
How long does the process take if I decide to apply for Ill-Health Retirement?
My Occ Health can carry out your Ill-Health Retirement assessment online or face-to-face at one of our West Midlands clinics. It is also worth bearing in mind, a standard occupational health assessment may be beneficial in providing any future evidence should it prove necessary.