Advice about ill health retirement please

I am recovering from a CVA and my GP has suggested I seek ill health retirement from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

I would hope to get aTier 1 pension but would be interested to hear of the experiences of others.

Dear Woody
To state the obvious, you will need to compare your future income with your future outgoings.
The maze of benefits will need to be approached, perhaps with the help of the CAB.

What I can tell you is that I found that I needed less money than expected once I retired. My regret is that I didn't retire earlier. I was bitten by a stroke and I now spend even less. Virtually nothing on travel, very little on my car, which I can drive but only about 2000 miles a year. And no holidays.
I do not have major disability and I do pay for private health care such as counselling.

My state retirement pension is much higher than expected, although my small old works pension is quite literally worthless. Prospective SRP can be checked by using a form BR19. or online BR19,
but be wary of the GMP (guaranteed minimum pension) of any employer pensions.

I am guessing you are a civil servant and there is likely to be very good advice available through your employers and your union.

There is a lot to get to grips with and that's something you could well do without whilst recovering from your injuries.

Hope this is a start
Colin

Thanks Colin, very helpful.

Dear Woody
The decision to terminate someone’s employment on the grounds of ill health is down to the employer. The decision to award pension benefits is then taken by the employer, after due referral and opinion given by an Independent Registered Medical Practitioner (IRMP) qualified in occupational health, amongst other things. The IRMP, when making its recommendation, assesses the individual after taking into account all information passed onto him/her from the GP, any specialists involved and may involve a consultation with the scheme member. It should be noted that the IRMP will have had no previous involvement with the case at all.

The IRMP, when deciding on eligibility for an ill-health pension, has to be mindful in the LGPS Regulations that apply. These are currently, in a shortened format

The first condition is that the member is, as a result of ill-health or infirmity of mind or body, permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of the employment the member was engaged in.
(4) The second condition is that the member, as a result of ill-health or infirmity of mind or body, is not immediately capable of undertaking any gainful employment. "gainful employment" means paid employment for not less than 30 hours in each week for a period of not less than 12 months
(5) A member is entitled to Tier 1 benefit that member is unlikely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment before normal pension age. Which is State Pension Age
(6) A member is entitled to tier 2 benefits if that member-
(a) is not entitled to tier 1 benefits; and
(b) is unlikely to be capable of undertaking any gainful employment within three years of leaving the employment; but
(c) is likely to be able to undertake gainful employment before reaching normal pension age.
(7) Subject to regulation 37 (special provision in respect of members receiving tier 3 benefits), if the member is likely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment within three years of leaving the employment, or before normal pension age if earlier, that member is entitled to tier 3 benefits for so long as the member is not in gainful employment, up to a maximum of three years from the date the member left the employment. Although this is reviewed by the former employer after 18 months of payment to determine whether the Tier 3 payments should continue for a further 18 months OR the award should be upgraded to a Tier 2 pension
Regards
Sheila

Sheila,
Many thanks for your reply. In my case the maths work in my favour as to continue employing me until my NRD would cost approximately £180,000 but to grant me Tier 1 would cost them half that amount. It seems a no brainer to me but can you advise me how much influence the employer has over such decisions or is it purely the IRMP who decides?

Hi Woody

It is my understanding that the IRMP makes a recommendation and your employer makes the decision on if or what to grant based on that decision. They are likely to follow the guidance that IRMP gives.
Regards
Sheila

I have had a number of ill health reviews and the company medical advisor has suggested she would support a claim for ill health retirement, however, I am only 54 and am have decided to push on with a part time,generally home based admin role (no previous admin experience,was a field based worker). My concern is that I was in a Defined Benefit pension scheme (Final Salary) so will my pension be based on my reduced final salary when I have been contributing for nearly 20 years at a significantly higher rate, expecting my final salary to be much higher than the enforced reduced salary which I will potentially be on for the next 10 years or so ? I realise no one can give individual financial advice and will be looking at getting that possibly from .gov.uk. But you all know the `stroke mind` sometimes goes into overdrive and this is always a great place for some nuggets of information.

Hi Woody
If you are dismissed on the grounds of ill health you cannot rely on the opinion of the company medical adviser, the only opinion that matters is that of the IRMP. However, if you are still able to work this is irrelevant.

With regards to your pension, the LGSS changed over to a career average pension a couple of years ago. My understanding is that your pension to that point is based on the old system then the career average (referred to as CARE by the pensions staff FYI) bit is tacked onto that. A career average is a more fair pension in that you get the formula based on what you have actually worked over your career and not on the last 3 years. It is a little difficult to explain so if you don't understand I would suggest that you talk to your pensions department.
Regards
Sheila

Thanks again Sheila.

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