Anyone applied for ill Health Retirement due to Lymphodema?

Hi all,

I have mild truncal LD (dx 2006 after surgery) and also arm/hand LDin dominent arm (2011/12). I am a nurse and have to find another job (non clinical) due to infection control risk of wearing sleeve. Having to write loads of notes all shift, as well as using arm for examinations/treatments., would make my arm really heavy and achy too, even though only mild LD.

Have now done computer job for past 3 years as i thought this would be doable, and it's not. After a day at the computer my arm is achy, heavy as well as truncal area. I have tried shorter shifts, wear compression bra, sleeve, glove, workstation adaptions with no improvement.

I have decided to apply for IHR as current job exacerbates LD (even though only mild) and can't go back to clinical work.

just wondering if anyone has similar experiences?? XX

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  • Have googled and found this information - hope it is of help :-)

    nhsbsa.nhs.uk/1308.aspx

    Ill Health Retirement FAQs

    Q. What do I need to do if I think ill health retirement applies to me?

    A. You should first read the If you are a current member and have at least 2 years membership, you should contact your employer for a form AW33E. This form is in three Parts;

    Part A – this is for your employer to fill in and provides information about your NHS employment and any absences due to illness or injury (sick leave)

    Part B – this is for you to complete with your personal details and to give your consent for NHS Pensions and its medical advisers to consider your request

    Part C – this section is for your Occupational Health Doctor to provide information and medical evidence about your condition

    Q. Is there an age limit for ill health retirement benefits?

    A. Yes, in order to qualify for ill-health retirement benefits your last day of Scheme membership must be before your 60 or 65th birthday.

    This is because ill health retirement benefits provisions are limited to those members who have not reached their normal retirement age. Normal retirement age in the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme is age 60, and in the 2008 section of the NHS Pension Scheme, age 65.

    Q. How do you decide if I qualify for ill health retirement benefits?

    A. As decisions depend largely on medical assessments NHS Pensions takes advice from a professional team of medical advisers, doctors qualified in the field of occupational health – Atos Healthcare.

    Q. What is the medical advisers role?

    A. The role of the medical advisers is to carry out an objective and independent professional assessment of all the available medical evidence and offer an opinion based on that assessment. The medical advisers can also commission further medical evidence if they consider it relevant and helpful to their assessment, for example your general practitioner or your specialist.

    Q. What are the qualifying conditions for ill health retirement benefits?

    A. The NHS Pension Scheme provides two levels of ill-health retirement benefits, dependent on the severity of your condition and the likelihood of you being able to work again.

    To qualify for a Tier 1 pension you must be permanently incapable of efficiently carrying out the duties of your employment because of illness or injury.

    To qualify for a Tier 2 pension you must be permanently incapable of engaging in regular employment of like duration to your NHS job (i.e. either whole time or part time) because of illness or injury

    Q. What does “permanently incapable” mean?

    A. For the purpose of ill health retirement benefits “permanently incapable” means until the Scheme’s normal benefit age. That is age 60 in the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme or age 65 in the 2008 section of the NHS Pensions Scheme.

    Q. How will you determine “permanent incapacity”?

    A. In order to judge this NHS Pensions must be satisfied that not only has your condition been fully investigated but that all reasonable treatment options have been explored and have proved unsuccessful or inappropriate. In looking to establish permanence NHS Pensions use the civil burden of proof, i.e. the balance of probabilities.

    Q. If my employer terminates my contract due to ill health will I automatically qualify for ill health retirement benefits?

    A. No – a decision by an employer to terminate a person’s employment will not automatically lead to payment of ill health retirement benefits from the Pension Scheme. The two are entirely separate and rely on different criteria. For instance, whilst the Pension Scheme Regulations require that a member is permanently prevented from efficiently performing the duties of their job, the employer, in considering whether termination is appropriate, may look at a considerably shorter period because of the need to have the post filled.

    Q. If I am getting Incapacity or Disability benefits will I automatically qualify for ill health retirement benefits?

    A. Not necessarily - the criteria for acceptance of ill health retirement benefits under the NHS Pension Scheme are different to the criteria adopted by the Department of Work and Pensions when determining entitlement to incapacity and disability benefits. Entitlement to the latter benefits only takes into consideration the condition presently existing whereas the issue that NHS Pensions and its medical advisers must carefully consider is whether your health problems are likely to prevent you from carrying out the duties of your NHS employment, or regular employment, until the Scheme’s normal retirement age.

    Q. What is a Tier 1 pension?

    A. If you are assessed as being permanently incapable of carrying out the duties of your own job you will be entitled to the early payment of the retirement benefits you have earned to date paid without any actuarial reduction for the early payment. In other words, these benefits will not be reduced to cover the extra cost of being paid before the Scheme’s normal benefit age.

    Q. What is a Tier 2 pension

    A. If you are assessed as being permanently incapable of engaging in regular employment of like duration you will be entitled to the retirement benefits you have earned to date enhanced by 2/3rds of your prospective membership up to the Scheme’s normal retirement age.

    Q. Will my pension be index-linked?

    A. Yes – your ill health pension will be fully index-linked to protect it against inflation. This means that it will be increased each year in line with the cost of living, for as long as it is paid.

    Q. What if I have a serious illness?

    A. If you are terminally ill and do not expect to live longer than a year, you can apply to exchange all of your ill health benefits for a one-off, usually tax free, lump sum payment. If you want to do this you should let you employer (normally the Pensions Officer) know.

    Q. What if I am over age 60(65) and have a serious illness?

    A. If you are terminally ill and do not expect to live longer than a year, you can apply to exchange all of your age benefits for a one-off, usually tax free, lump sum payment. As your membership will not be enhanced you do not need to apply for ill-health retirement in the usual way but we will need confirmation from your doctor or consultant that your life expectancy is less than 12 months. If you want to do this you should contact NHS Pensions or your employer (normally the Pensions Officer).

    Q. If my request for ill health retirement benefits is not successful can I appeal?

    A. Yes – if you think we have made a mistake, or you simply do not agree with our decision, or you feel we have not dealt with your case very well, you can ask us to look at your request for ill health retirement benefits again under the Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedures. To do this you must complete Form DRP1.

  • Sorry for the cutting and pasting all the info, but thought others would like to see the answers. I too work for the NHS so was interested to see this article. Although I work in administration not clinical. Good luck to both of you. Will be interested to know how you get on too.

    Tina x

  • I was medically retired from Royal Mail in 2008 so it can be done but it can also be a fight, I had to see a couple of Doctors from ATOS. Be aware that there are two forms of retirement with different criteria and benefits.

  • Hi all,

    Thank you for your replies. It is indeed a bit of a worry as it is not really an option I want to take, but typing/handwriting/computer work for periods of time causes my arm/trunck to feel heavy and achy, so by the end of the week it is miserabke. This noticably improves when I am away from work.

    I pay for private MLD and deep oscillation which helps, until I go back to work.

    Am I right in thinking that to continually aggravate LD in this way will cause it to possibly worsen? XX

  • i was a nurse in the nhs. like yourself we all agreed i couldnt return to clinical work, with the diagnosis of lymphodema in both legs it was devastating. HR and occ health agreed i could leave on ill health and incapacity and they would support me to get my pension early, Its been a battle as they backtracked and will only award me level 1 having said it would be level 2, its had massive finacial implications and as i say a battle to even get it sorted but good luck go for it,hopefully my paymenets will start soon, i miss my career but couldnt go on i didnt want to be off sick or unreliable.

  • Hi morganite,

    I'm sorry to hear that you have had to retire and hope it will be finalised for you soon.

    I have found this incredibly hard to deal with- I have been nursing for 29 years and feel that I am "giving in".

    I was clinical until 3 years ago, and had problems note writing as my dominent arm is affected (only mildly). It slowed me down as i would have to keep stopping due to heaviness and aching in my arm. This was not well accepeted by my collegues who said I needed to speed up. Although I should have worn a sleeve i didn't due to infection control risk, so I redeployed myself to a non clinical role in same trust. However, computer work appears to aggravate it too and as I am unable to continue or return to a clinical role I have applied for IHR and my application is now with OH for completion. She has stated in a letter that she supports IHR unless a postion can be found for me using my left arm only, working less than 20 hrs/week and non clinical.

    i feel that there is little sympathy from my manager and collegues and that I am making a big fuss over nothing - "its only an achy arm".

    The whole process is very daunting xx

  • hiya happy shopper

    i was just about to type 'if you go to the bcc forums i don't know what they're like these days but there was a whole load of stuff under 'travel, employment etc' then i saw your moniker - fancy seeing you here!

    glad you've got as far as occy health, & their support's more important than your line mgr or colleagues'

    pm me if you want x

  • Good luck with you attempts to get IHR. I my experience public services have the policy but it can be the devils own job to get it properly implemented. You are often treated as if you are just a skiver wanting an easy 'out'.

  • Hi radio,

    Thanks for your reply. Have you applied for IHR too? Yes, I agree with your comments - I do feel like a skiver looking for an easy way out and that's certainly how management are making me feel.

    I have now been off work for 8 weeks and can't belive the difference it's made to my LD. I recently had a session of MLD, and because it's not being aggravated by computer work, the effects of this have lasted ages!

    My application is with now OH for completion, and part of me wants to just pull out, it's too stressful. I have worked diligently for the past 29 years in a profession I've loved(most of the time) so not working is not sitting easily with me , I have to say.

    I am terrified that after all this, it will be unsuccessful and I will literally be left with nothing. Can't bear it!

    XXX

  • Hi all,

    Thought that I would just update you all. Yesterday I recieved a letter from NHS pensions, saying that my application for ill health retirement has been successful.

    XXXXX

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