Bronchiectasis and ill health retirement

I'm wondering if anyone has experience of ill health retirement because of bronchiectasis? My daughter is 28, works for local government. Has severe bronchiectasis, takes 29 different tablets daily (including steroids and daily antibiotics) nebuliser 6 times daily, physio therapy twice daily, injections at hospital fortnightly, and this is when she is "well". She suffers from recurrent chest infections and in 2014 had a section of her lung removed in order to try to get the bronchiectasis under control. She also suffers with severe asthma and allergies. She coughs up large amounts of rubbish that pools in her lungs. She works full time but in the last 3 years has been off sick for approx 18 months (8 months; then intermittent illness, and now been off since October. ) Her treatment regime is gruelling. She cannot walk any distance without being breathless. She suffers with chronic fatigue (has to sleep sitting up and coughs throughout the night). Is in constant pain from the coughing and bringing up rubbish. There is no cure for this and there is no more treatment available, we just have to manage symptoms and try to prevent infections. The severity of her condition will effect her life expectancy (although hopefully not in the immediate future.) We are if the opinion that she cannot work any longer. Her GP is in agreement. Work are taking her through their absence management process. I have read the local government pension scheme rules and am of the opinion that she will not be capable of gainful employment ever again (in line with their definitions;) but wonder if, because of her age, they will / can refuse ill health retirement. Has anyone been through ill health retirement process? Anyone of a similar age been granted it? Anyone with bronchiectasis been granted it? Any advice would be so gratefully received. I am a very worried mum. Thanks

30 Replies

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  • sorry to hear your daughter is not well she's been through a lot at such a young age I think her wiring in a office is the worst place she could be with all the germs floating about they do thrive in office condition's

  • Hi I am sorry to hear of all the health problems of your daughter, and she is so young as well. I have had a quick google but can't find anything about any age limits for ill health retirement..

    I would have a look at her terms of contract if you haven't already as there might be guidance in there. Is it possible too that she might be able to continue working on a part time basis? Her employer would have to consider that under 'reasonable adjustments'.

    Our oracle on finding info on the web is stone-UK so I hope he will have a look for you. I wish you and your lovely daughter all the best. x

  • Awww thank you for such quick replies. Work have made some reasonable adjustments, they wet clean her desk daily, she can take her leave at short notice if feels she's becoming ill etc. Have thought about reducing hours but to be honest, it takes her that long to recover from work (she comes home, has meds, does physio and goes to bed, just so that she can get herself to work the following day) I'm just now of the opinion that life's too short. She has no life, cos it takes all her energy to work. I have looked at her contract etc, and googled, and I can't see anywhere about there being a minimum age, but it would be extremely expensive for them to award it at such a young age, which is why I wondered if anyone had any experience? I read on another site where someone in their 40s had been refused as employers said that they couldn't be sure that in the next 25 years a cure wouldn't be found (!!!)

  • Couldn't she even manage 16 hours a week? x

  • Something to think about certainly

  • Hi dawn3y, do sorry to hear how your daughter suffers with such poor health. I care for hubby Pete who retired on grounds of ill health when ye was 49. He worked for a Bus company so saw their doctor. I don't know what job your daughter does but maybe her company can help in some way.

    I do wish you well and your daughter too. Xxxxxx

  • Thank you x

  • Sorry to hear about your daughter. Is she a member of the union? If so she really needs to involve them. With regards ill health retirement I am very doubtful that she will get it. It is expensive for councils and they will do everything they can to avoid paying out. I was told some years ago by my then union rep that I was far too young to be considered for ill health retirement. Now times are bad for local,authorities I think it is even more unlikely. Sorry but this is my experience after working for local government for past 26 years. I want to start looking at the possibility of getting out on health grounds after I turn 50yrs BUT way things are going will still be consider too young.

    One thing I do think is worth considering IS the idea of part time work. If your daughter likes her current job this can be asked for under reasonable adjustments. My job should be 37 hours per week but I currently do 24 hours. Having reduced hours keeps me in work and although it is still hard (am having a rough time at the moment) it does give me a reason to get up in the morning. Plus it makes me feel I am of some worth rather than just sitting at home considering how unwell I feel.

    Feel free to contact me should you have any further queries or want to discuss things privately PM me.

  • Hi Bevvy, that's really helpful, thank you for sharing your experience. That was certainly my thoughts in terms of her age and the expense. But then I read the Lgps rules and think to myself that if she meets the criteria, how can they refuse? You are absolutely right about the union. We will definitely get in touch and get their take on it. She does enjoy her job though it is stressful and she has to visit homes where the conditions can make her ill. But thank you again for your reply and honesty, I don't know how to pm you on here - how do I do that?

  • If you tap my name details about me come up. There is also a box called message. This enables members to email each other privately.

    Sounds like myself and your daughter do a similar type of job! Certainly there is NO way I could work full time. At moment because I am having a rough time it is hard enough doing part time hours!

    Has your daughter claimed PIP? This helps me with reduction in pay so I can afford things like ready meals. Am unable to cook for myself these days.

  • Hi

    Early retirement may not be the best option.

    nidirect.gov.uk/articles/ea...

    It seems you daughters employees are doing every thing possible to ensure your daughters employment suits her needs. She must be a valued employer.

    If your daughter feels that she can no longer carry on, the the first port of call is her GP to sign her of work and after meeting the qualifying period claim ESA, another daunting experience. I would also look at PIP.

    Further information can be found at.

    gov.uk/

  • Hi Stone, thanks for this, I'll read the article with interest. My daughter is currently signed off work by her GP, (has been since October) and she gets PIP at the enhanced rate for both mobility and personal care. Her works pension scheme is one where it is possible to get her pension early, and the amount paid to her could be the same as if she had paid into it until she was 60, (that's if she is deemed as not being able to work 30 hours a week or more for a minimum of 12 months, and she would never be able to do this before reaching normal retirement age.) I've no idea how this would effect her state pension, but she may not need that. I'll have a read if the article. Thank you again

  • She will not get her state pension until her normal retirement age. Her ESA/PIP will be covering her national insurance so she should receive a full state pension. I forgot to say that my local government pension was enhanced upto retirement, though it is still not a lot.

  • I have COPD but I took early retirement on health grounds. After reasonable adjustments were made I still struggled and so, eventually and reluctantly, had to give up working. If successful your daughter will find that she receives her works pension immediately and that it is paid at the full rate, because she will be credited for making payments into it until her full retirement age. It worked very well for me.

  • Hi Toci, thank you for your message. Was there any resistance to you taking ill health retirement or were your employers helpful/supportive

  • I found them helpful once they realised how bad I was, though not before then. HR were always helpful though, management were not initially but came around in the end.

  • Thanks. Not approached management or HR yet. And they never mentioned it at her first formal sickness meeting last month. Following advice given on here so far which is get support from union! Be interesting to hear his thought.

  • I am assuming she knows that she comes under the Disability Act? I was medically retired from local government at the age of 53, 4 years ago. I have severe Asthma and lung obstruction, and I was off sick a lot with infections, and inability to breathe when at work due to the temperature and humidity. I had to go for an Occupational Health Assessment. I had a letter from the Consultant which said that my condition was unlikely to improve as I was already on maximum medication. It was agreed that whilst I may be able to work, I was still likely to be off sick, and therefore unable to manage a full time job. Whilst they were deciding, I reduced my hours, but it did not make much difference to my health. Open plan offices are the worst. I agree that your daughter is young, it does seem to me though, that she does fall into the same category. If I can help at all, just email me. Every time I saw the Occupational Health Assessor I was having difficulty breathing (due to the stress of it all, and multiple allergies in summertime).

  • Hi WheezyAnne,

    Yes, she is covered under the Act, has been to Occupational health on many occasions and they always make this clear in their reports. Yes, open plan office is awful, she's really allergic to dust so they've had to really increase their cleaning regime. Heating in the winter, air con and allergies in the summer all have a profound effect. She's been off every winter since 2013, as she literally just crashes, has ended up in hospital and on intravenous antibiotics etc. When they removed part of her lung in 2014, (which isn't something that is done often for bronchiectasis) we were under the impression that this would improve things, but it hasn't, she's on more medication now and more disabled physically because of the decrease in lung function caused by the lobectomy. She has a wheelchair (on prescription via the hospital) though doesn't use it all the time and has managed so far to not use it at work. She's a young woman, with no quality of life, as all her energy is taken up with her treatment regime and work. Reducing to part time hours is a consideration although I am sceptical, in that she will still end up off sick every winter for 6 months. Having spoken to Bevvy, we'll definitely contact the union. And I will message you if that's ok? It's really helpful hearing about the experience of others.

  • Hi dawn3y sorry to hear about your daughter. I have been through the early retirement through ill health. I also worked for a local authority. I retired 2 years ago but I am considerably older than your daughter at 55. I went through the process after speaking to my line manager she started the ball rolling suggesting i apply for early retirement to ill health. I should say now i have copd, evidence of bronchitis and aspergillus on my lungs and other health problems. I have had several months of work due to my condition. My consultant was brilliant he wrote to them when they requested the information about my health. I had to go to a consultation with a dr employed by the local council who ask me how my illness effected me on a daily basis. (Local councils will offer other lower impact jobs within the council if they consider your present job is no longer suitable) however on speaking to me this Dr realised I was breathless just speaking to her so would be unable to answer a phone without distress. I cannot stress enough your daughters consultant is key. Her Gp and any other professionals involved with her will all be asked to produce written confirmation of her illness. I did not think I would get early retirement through I'll health as it is really difficult to get given the economic climate. But I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to draw my pension early. It will depend on your daughters completed work years how much she gets. And this can be disappointing to say the least. But she my be able to claim other benefits. I am sure others on here would be able to help or point you in the right direction. Sorry to go on so long. I hope this helps. My thoughts and good wishes go out to your daughter. Breathe easy.

  • Hi Linda, thank you for sharing your experience, it's very useful. GP is already on board regarding her not returning to work, in order to prevent more infections and not causing more damage to the lungs. She sees the specialist respiratory nurse under the respiratory consultant every 2 weeks, but hasn't seen the consultant himself for 12 months. Specialist nurse says she doesn't know how she's managed to work full time for as long as she has. Following advice from people on here, we have a meeting booked with the union rep on Thursday so we'll see what he says. We did attend her formal stage 1 meeting with her manager and HR, but there was no mention of ill health retirement from them, unlike in your case. Thank you again for sharing - it's so useful to hear different experiences of this process, I'm feeling more informed.

  • Hi I hope it all works out for her. Ps I wasn't in a union. I truly believe it was my consultants report. Can I ask you to consider an appointment asap with the consultant. Breathe easy

  • Thank you Linda and yes she needs to push to see the consultant definitely. She goes on Wednesday to the hospital to see the specialist respiratory nurse (goes every other week to have injections to help with the allergies;) so will talk to her about it all and see if she can get to see the consultant. He's a nice enough man but have always felt he's a bit too laid back and not particularly proactive. GP has to constantly chase things with him! So I'm guessing we need to just inform him of our intentions, get his view and ask for his support in responding when asked for the info from work. Thanks again

  • Dear Dawn, I'm sorry to hear of your Daughter's misfortune in health. The poor love has not had a fare chance at enjoyment of the pleasure of good health. I strongly urge you to encourage her to join the Unison trade union. It is not to late for her to join as although she has had to endure a great deal of absence through poor health she is still employed in an occupation that entitles her to Unison membership.

    Whatever ones political opinion is of trade unions it must be remembered that the true spirit of their foundation was to protect the needy as is your dear Daughter's case. I would expect it would be possible to find a good solid mentor from Unison to supply information and Full support to you both in this time of need. I truly wish you both good fortune in the future.

    Luv,

    L. D.x

  • Hi,

    Thank you for your message. Yes, she's (and I) are in Unison and I have contacted them today and arranged to meet with them on Thursday. He asked for documents relating to her condition so sent him occy health respites and work risk assessments and some info from the internet about bronchiectasis. So wish us luck! Thank you again for your kind wishes x

  • hi if turned down appeal .my daughter applied for early retirement because of ill health and was refused .she then paid and got independent reports from her consultants and .reapplied and was granted retirement through ill health ..she was in her late 30s ..I can still see a nurse stating you wont get it you know..but with re applying she did ..(she worked for the NHS .keep applying and if possible get her own statements off her consultants you have to pay but it was worth it in my daughters case

  • Hi marlee, thank you for the advice. Just shows it is possible then, even for younger people. Did you pay your daughters regular consultant to provide her report or did you pay an independent consultant for a report in addition to her regular consultants report? It's really helpful to hear about your experience, thank you again.

  • we paid for a copy of her medical records and paid for a private consultation with her consultant at the hospital.. this meant we could spend more time with him and we paid for a copy of the consultants report...we then sent these to the relevant people and they awarded her pension as if she had worked to retiring age..the consultant said there are people not as bad as you that have never worked so you have done well..this made her feel better in herself...she is doing okay now enjoying life ..good luck to your daughter hope it works out for her ..if I can help more please just ask

  • Thank you marlee. Really helpful, I wouldn't have thought of paying for additional reports. So glad it's worked out for your daughter and she can now enjoy life. Having to deal with such health issues, they deserve it don't they. That's exactly what I hope for Shelley. Thank you again, and I may well pick your brains again if you don't mind x

  • anytime and good luck x

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