Advice and guidance needed for ill health retirement from teaching

I have been teaching for 15 years and have suffered with osteo arthritis since the age of 12. Throughout my career I have had to have joint replacements and other surgeries linking to the arthritis. It has now come to the point that I can't cope anymore and have finally realised that I can no longer continue to teach. I have more surgeries in the future and I just can't continue to cling on, plus it's not helping my school from a strategic management point of view. I need some guidance on what to do and what lies ahead.... Sadly I am only 40 but life has to change.

9 Replies

  • Your head will need to contact the local authority HR department and arrange for you to be seen by an Occupational Therapist (not the ones from the hospital, but employed by the LA) - it is their job to decide if you are not fit for work and need to retire on health grounds. I would also check out your union and ask them to explain the process, so that you are aware of any pitfalls. Hope that helps, its a horrible thing to realise that you are not really able to carry on with a job you've loved, so (((((gentle hugs))))) I left teaching a few years ago, not by retirement though, and I've been a lot healthier since (lack of stress) but I do have experience of the occupational therapists from local authorities.

  • Oh thank you so much for your response. I did kind of know that but wanted to check. I have contacted my union and am waiting for them to call me for a discussion. I am currently unable to go into

  • Very good answer. Lucyhobbit.

    Plus Kath14 you won't help the school if you cant function properly. But never mind them. I'm sorry to say you're no more indispensable than I am. You're also too important to be killing yourself for the sake of the children and school, as important as they are in their own way. You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. I don't know if there are any other avenues you can explore. You have a lifetime of experience to share.

    You've had a rough deal being arthritic so young, and I'll bet there were symptoms even before diagnosis.

  • Thanks Fen

  • Hi Kath, I am also a teacher and I am almost at the end of the medical retirement process. With my employers we are referred to occ health if we are off for more than 2 weeks in any six month period. Like you I have had a number of periods when I have been too ill to work and I have now been off since October last year. My occ health nurse referred me to their doctor, whom I saw in January. He then contacted my GP for a report and he put me forward for CBT as this can be helpful in dealing with constant pain. Once all the evidence has been gathered it will be forwarded to your pensions agency who make a decision as to whether your ill health is such that you are no longer fit to teach. They have 3 possible decisions to make. Initially it is whether you will be fit to teach at some point in the future, if yes then you have to decide on what it is possible for you to do financially. If they deem you not fit to teach they then have to decide if you will be fit enough to do some other kind of work before your actual pensionable age. If that is their decision then you get your pension up till the time your employment is terminated. If they decide you are 90% unlikely to be fit enough to work again before your pensionable age you will be given your pension as though you were retiring at your normal pensionable age.

    Sadly I have been allocated my pension up to the age I am now as they are sure I will be fit for work of some kind despite the fact "that your absence level is likely to remain high and unpredictable". To say I am annoyed is an understatement but the whole thing has taken that long so this, combined with a prolonged absence in the academic year prior to this one means that I have run out of salary and can't afford to appeal the decision.

    Good luck with your application, let us know how it goes and if you want to message me about anything please do and I will help in any way I can. Linda

  • Are there no law firms who will take your case on a contingency basis and appeal for you?

  • Hi Kath i had to give up work, even though i was only a part time manager, at the age of 43. It is difficult to accept at a young age but easier to deal with once you accept the inevitable. I would like to suggest you think back over what hobbies and interests you have enjoyed but not had time for in the past. Having something to occupy and keep your interest when not too ill or in pain helps your mental health, all the best

  • Hi both of you, thank you so much for your responses, very very helpful xxx

  • HiKath14

    I sincerely hope that you are feeling as well as you possibly can be today? I think that you have had some really good advice, so I will wish you all the best of luck and I genuinely hope that you get what you desire and deserve.

    All my hopes and dreams for you

    Ken x

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