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Ill health retirement

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by 1970devon, May 31, 2018.

  1. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure whether this is the best place to post but hoping you'll point me in the right direction. Have any of been given ill health retirement? And if so how old were you and what was the process like for you? I know that it's not easily given but it looks like my health is not going to allow me to teach much longer. I'm late 40s and been teaching for getting on for 25 years.
    Many thanks
    julieshaun likes this.
  2. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    I was awarded Tier 1 IHR (considered unfit to teach but fit to do other paid work) at Christmas at age 43. I’d been teaching for 14 years. My pension was not actuarially reduced, but was not ‘made up’ with any additional years.

    The process was quick - 6 weeks from start to finish with less than a week between final submission of the papers and approal by TPS. HOWEVER, it was fairly straightforward in that I had a hell of a lot of medical evidence, plenty of evidence of reasonable adjustments (I’d been teaching with a disability for 7 years) and could only teach a subject with H&S implications.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask or PM me.
  3. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    Wow! A very quick process buy like you say a slow build up. I have one long term condition which has been managed - seen OH and adjustments made- over the years. I've been quite unwell this year with unrelated illness which has now been diagnosed as long-term classed as a disability. I only work 0.4 contract and it seems I'm unable to do that anymore but have only seen OH once with regards to this. It's very apparent that the nature of teaching makes the condition worse. I can see myself fit to do other things just not teaching for much longer. I was wondering if the fact that I cannot really reduce my hours any more plus the fact that the types of recommendations being made will not work in teaching may mean i could get tier 1 as well. Did your union support your application? If somebody told me now that I could retire in a few months it would really relieve the pressure I currently have. Thankyou i may well be asking more advice
    jlishman2158 and LadyForlorn like this.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    This is a question you need to put to your Union ASAP.
    jlishman2158, dave129 and 1970devon like this.
  5. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    Sorry if this is a bit rambling, but I’ll try to give you some details about my experience with the process...

    I was diagnosed with a condition in 2010 (going blind). I had support including equipment and a support worrier through Access to Work until 2017 when it reached a point that I couldn’t cope any more. It doesn’t help that I was teaching chemistry and it doesn’t really ‘fit’ with being visually impaired (tick box 1). It was the only subject I was qualified to teach (tick box 2) and reducing hours down to even one day a week woulnd’t help (tick box 3) Hence, I had ‘proof’ that all adjustments had been made.

    The condition I have is degenerative and with no treatment or cure available at all (tick box 4). There is highly unlikely to be any treatment available to alleviate symptoms before retirement age (tick box 5).

    I think the tick boxes all have to be ticked if you are to be awarded IHR. My HT was very good and supported the process. I worked in a very small LEA and the HR rep was also brilliant. They very quickly arranged an appointment with an OH doctor who reviewed all my medical letters and completed the medical forms.

    The ‘fly in the ointment’ was the Union. Regional provided a rep who was ‘nice’ but not very useful. My HT suggested that I have a rep present for the meetings, hence why I arranged one. The rep provided inaccurate advice and initially told me it would be highly unlikely I would be given IHR (which just added to my anxiety at the time).

    Have a look at the IHR forms on the Teachers Pension website. The questions give an indication of the type of ‘stuff’ they are looking for.
    julieshaun, PeterQuint and 1970devon like this.
  6. littlejackhorner

    littlejackhorner Occasional commenter

    For me it was quite a long process. I had to leave work due to ill health. OH involved initially after 2 episodes of long term sickness. Phased return didn’t work for long and I went off again. I left with nothing else to go to and planned to do occasional supply when I felt well enough. Health specialists warned that this was not a suitable job for me and they would support an ill health application. I contacted union for advice. They gave me lots of help around evidence gathering and offered to look through my forms once completed. I didn’t take up this offer as I felt there was sufficient evidence. It took several months to gather the evidence- mainly because GP was so slow filling in his part. He was brief but precise summing up multiple incidences of recurrent problems. Once I submitted the forms the process was quite quick, probably about 6 weeks.
    1970devon likes this.
  7. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    Thankyou all.
    @FrankWolley I will raise the question with union next week. I have already explained that I don't feel I'll be well enough to teach again and will be more explicit.
    @LadyForlorn Sorry to hear about your loss of sight; am glad you had a relatively good need to your career though. Thanks for clarifying the process.
    LadyForlorn and FrankWolley like this.
  8. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    @littlejackhorner interesting that you left and then completed your application? I feel this may well be the route I have to take. Although I pretty much know I am unable to teach for much longer, I have a feeling I may have to jump through a few more hoops for a while to prove this to the satisfaction of those that make decisions.
    Will discuss with my GP and union over next couple of weeks and go from there.
    Many thanks
  9. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    You have 2 years from leaving teaching to submitting an application for IHR and having it classed as an ‘in service’ application. I think you need to have left due to the health issues that you are claiming IHR for.

    Either way, the medical professional forms need to be completed which will require a ‘robust’ response from a doctor. Consultants often charge a substantial fee for this bu often have the best knowledge of possible treatments (or lack thereof). A GP will have a better overview of your medical conditions if you have more than one. GPs, however, are quite snowed under with requests for medical evidence now that PIP/ESA tribunals are becoming more common. Again, it may cost substantially.

    Getting your HT to support the application means that the forms can be completed by an OH doctor at no cost to you. They are also experienced at completing IHR applications as usually have to deal with the Local Government ones as well as TPS so know what they are looking for.

    You need to think very carefully about whether IHR is right for you. It is very much a one-way street. Being awarded IHR means you can NEVER teach, lecture or tutor ever again. There can be no ‘one two days supply’, you can’t home tutor and you have to inform TPS of any paid or voluntary work you do. For me, I was already dead certain that I never wanted to enter a classroom again. However, I had often considered home tutoring (from my own home) and this was not specifically excluded in the IHR leaflet I was given. It was only once I was awarded IHR that I found out in the accompanying letter that any tutoring was not allowed.

    Thank you for your kind words. Despite my eyesight difficulties, life has never been better. I feel like a gigantic weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I did love teaching, and still miss aspects of it, but I love retirement more!

    Good luck with your journey through this process.
    dave129, julieshaun and 1970devon like this.
  10. littlejackhorner

    littlejackhorner Occasional commenter

    Union originally advised me to pursue ill health retirement whilst at work but I just didn’t want to go through the whole process of formal meetings target setting etc. I knew it would lead to capability and dismissal on ill health grounds and I didn’t want that on my employment records. I knew I would be fit enough for other jobs so wanted to ensure I got decent references. Union therefore negotiated a settlement which saved both the school and me from a difficult drawn out process. I had to be careful with money but have always been a saver anyway. At the end of the day your health is the most important thing. Good luck to you.
    julieshaun and 1970devon like this.
  11. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    You sound similar to me. I could rwturn in September as planned on a very phased return but know that i have to sit through a formal absence hearing in September where my head will make it very clear the negative impact I'm having on the school. The head has stated my health is affecting my ability to teach. I can't through all that negativity again. Lots to discuss with the union next week.
    julieshaun likes this.
  12. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Could you clarify what that means in practice?

    Let's say you went at 55, that's 5 years early. Are you saying they didn't reduce it as they usually would for going 5 years early, but you could start taking the pension straight away?
    1970devon likes this.
  13. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    Yes, that’s exactly what it means. I received at 43 the pension I would have received at 60 and 67 as I am in both schemes. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t be able to take a pension at this stage.
    1970devon likes this.
  14. welshskyline

    welshskyline New commenter

    I'm confused here....you say your pension was not "made up" with any additional years and then you say that you received, at 43, the pensions you would have received at 60 and 67?
  15. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    Sorry, I’ve not been particularly clear.

    Tier 1 IHR (unable to teach) means that you receive immediately the pension you would have received at retirement age if you had left teaching and then deferred taking the pension. These would ordinarily have been taken at 60 (80ths scheme) and 67 or 68 (career average scheme).

    This is what I was awarded.

    Tier 2 IHR means that you are considered unable to do ANY paid work. In addition to Tier 1 benefits you are ‘awarded’ extra years pension for half the years between now and retirement age. So, at 43 I would have had to wait 24 years to retire under the career average scheme. If given Tier 2 IHR I would have been credited another 12 years service towards my pension.

    Does that make more sense?
    julieshaun and 1970devon like this.
  16. phatsals

    phatsals Senior commenter

    It means there was no ARB but no additional years were added, ie if they had already earned 20 years, it was not made up to say 25.
    LadyForlorn likes this.
  17. welshskyline

    welshskyline New commenter

    Thanks. That's clearer now.
  18. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    I am retired through ill health. I got ill health retirement two years, age 50, ago after a four year period of increasing ill health due to two long term health conditions. I had increasingly long sick periods and in my last year at work I only worked for 11 days. The process really began for me as my employers, a local authority, were beginning the process to dismiss me on health grounds. I had asked the union prior to that about ill health retirement and they had been very discouraging telling me my chances of success were low as my main illness is a mental illness. The union wanted me to leave on the basis of a settlement agreement. The authority had already involved occupational health so I pushed for them to provide occupational health to complete an ill health retirement application. I read round the criteria carefully and got plenty of supporting reports and letters from doctors and consultants.The process of getting the application in was long winded as the local authority were painfully slow to do their bits and as a result I had a term with no pay as my sick pay had run out. However once the application was in I had the result within a week and I was awarded tier 1.

    I have no regrets. I am still unwell, but much less so than when I was working.I do not have to deal with the guilt of being off work or the pressures from management about being off. I have time to look after my health and do activties such as swmming, yoga, walking and crafts which help my health.I am no longer exhausted all the time and have the energy to spend time with friends and family. I had 18 years worth of contribtions in the final salary scheme and another year in the new scheme. On paper this is about a quarter of my teaching salary, but with no national insurance and little tax. I also recieve contributions based ESA , but it is reduced by about half due to my pension and I get personal independence payment. The latter is not taxable. The net amount gives me roughly the same as the net amount I would get from teaching four days a week. I am much better off than I expected to be at the outset of the process.
  19. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    @Greendams thankyou for your positive comments. I'm so glad you had a good result in the end :) I believe both my GP and probably OH will support my application if I decide to go for it. I have two long-term conditions both aggravated by stress. The actions of my new head have added to those meaning that my mental health is deteriorating. One of my conditions when flaring means I'm incapable of being in the classroom and OH / GP are saying that I need to learn to pace myself - by doing no more than 15mins of one activity before switching to some thing different! E.g.. 15 mins of talking/15mins of relaxation...or 15 mins of exercise/15 mins of reading......thia doesn't seem practical within teaching.

    My actual teaching time over past 20 plus years probably adds up to about 16 years in total. I really cam see myself working again but never as a teacher. The constant mental and physical demands are immense :/
    Other than absences of a few days here and there over past 8 years, I went off in Jan for 9 weeks....back at Easter then been off since.
    My head wants me out and being off work is stressing me even more!
    So still waiting for union to re-contact me as to next steps.

    Thanks all
    julieshaun likes this.
  20. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    Have you spoken to your HT about ill health reitrement and whether they’d support an application? It could very possibly be a win-win situation for all involved. I went a long way through the process without involving the union (who were pretty useless anyway).
    1970devon likes this.

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