Ill health retirement : Has anyone taken ill health... - LUPUS UK

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Ill health retirement

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Has anyone taken ill health retirement ag the age of around 40yrs for lupus and its many contributing problems?

Over the yrs nursing I have whittled my hrs down and down and am now only on 12hrs a wk which I do 2 days 6 hrs a day and I don't start til 10am as I'm too stiff any earlier (this was my bosses idea) and I have regular15 minute 'catch up ' slots throughout my day to just breathe so that I am not just over faced with back to back patients in my clinic.

Yet I'm now finding my joint, muscle pain and over all fatigue is just becoming way too much to bear. I often struggle to move in bed in the night and in the morning my partner has had to lift me out of bed as I couldn't move at all and that was on a work day! I go into work wearing splints limping and I joke to my colleagues and say 'dont panic the nurse is here ha ha!!' I go up in the lift sit in my chair and stay there seeing my patients until I can move any further in about 4 hrs time! I take about 25 tablets a day including twice daily zomorph 30mgs.

I'm thinking now that I'm coming to the end of the line in regards to work, Ive tried to drag myself in whatever and often am there when I'm too unwell to be. I'm just wondering how hard its gonna be and if I'm gonna be eligible for ill health retirement. I've got 2 small children 3yrs 6 yrs too and I couldn't afford to just give up work without my pension and why should I when I've worked so hard for 20 yrs plus my training and was also diagnosed around that time too so have been ill all that time.

Sorry for such long post!!

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My assessment: you should not have to work. Of course, I am not the assessor! You have worked hard and helped others for long enough. It is clear to me by your description that your symptoms are debilitating and make it nearly impossible to work. In the U.S. about sixty percent of lupus patients are on disability. You might want to look at some of the criteria. I have a feeling you meet it!



Hi Sara,

I was retired aged 50 from the NHS but it wasn’t an easy process. I lost my job on capability grounds due to ill health, Occ Health wouldn’t support me for ill health retirement at that time but I applied 8 months later with support from my GP and was awarded tier 2 ill health retirement.

I would advise

1) Seeking help/ advice from your union.

2) Contacting Occ Health

3) Make sure your Lupus is as well controlled/ treated as it can be. My Consultant Rheumy was asked for information and bear in mind that there are 2 types of ill health retirement. Tier 1 which recognises that you aren’t fit to work as a nurse any more but can do other employment. Tier 2 which recognises that you can’t work in any capacity. The amount of pension you receive including compensation for having to retire early depends on what tier you retire on.

4) Contact your pension provider and ask for a copy of the ill health retirement policy as ultimately it’s their medical advisors who will make the decision.

If you haven’t had time off on sick leave then you may not even be considered. In many ways you have to prove that you can’t do your job first by taking an extended period of sickness absence.

I found I had to be very focussed in proving my case, collect evidence about your disease, how it affects you practically day to day and make sure that your medical treatment is optimum otherwise you run the risk of being told there are other treatments to try.

This is a very broad overview, please PM me if you have specific questions and I will try to answer them the best I can.


Hi. I was medically retired by the local authority. There were hoops to jump through, but basically it all came down to the fact that SLE prevented me from doing my job "reliably and consistently" and the fact we'd already tried reduced hours etc. Sounds like you need this.... Good luck


Hi Sara your story is very similar to mine.

I was also a nurse and worked for a few years after my diagnosis but it was very difficult .

I loved my job but my consultant eventually said enough is enough you are going to kill yourself.

So with great sadness at the age of 30 I had to retire.

I am now 63.

On my first application for benefits I was turned down but I reapplied and won the awards.

Don't be put off with the benefit system try and get some advice on how to fill the forms out as they are lengthy.

I think it is time for you to look after yourself now.



Hi Sara,

Sorry that things are not good for you at the moment, I can certainly appreciate your situation.

I took I'll health retirement from the nhs at 50.

Before that time I had a diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis, my diagnosis of SLE and my mums sudden death both happened just before my 50th birthday.

It became very clear to me that I would have to stop work. My employers were very supportive and offered my a desk job coordinating use of bank and agency nurses throughout the unit (11 wards) all the stress of managing 11 off duties, and no input with patients!

I think looking back that the stress of work, my diagnosis and mums death brought on a big flare, and I was a complete mess!

Occupational health suggested to me that I could take Ill health retirement, although those nice people in HR tried very hard to stop me getting it.

Anyway between my line manager, occ health and the rcn, I was awarded my pension, on tier one of I'll health retirement, this means that if things change, (miracle?) I could return to work, tier two is much more money, but very hard to get, you have to be very sick.

You have a choice with your pension to take a small lump sum and a larger monthly pension or a large lump sum and small pension.

It was a very difficult time for me, but I have no doubt that I made the right decision.

I now care for my dad, who came to live with us, make needle felted sculptures which I sell through a local shop and make cold process soap which I hope to sell one day. I've had two knee replacements and I'm just recovering from having the mid foot joints in my left foot fused, having the right one done next year.

I'm lucky that my husbands work pays quite well as without old age pension, my work pension wouldn't keep me, and I'd have to make and sell a lot of felted sculptures! 😀

It's not a decision to take lightly, but it is an option, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

My advice, don't be bullied, take advice from occ health, get the support of your Rheumatologist, GP and union rep. If you don't belong to a union, join one right now!

Good luck, I really hope that it works out for you 🍀 🍀 🍀 x x


I am so sorry for you. That’s rough. Just taking care of two little ones is work enough (or, in the case of what you’re going through, too much on it’s own?) I can’t even imagine how you’ve gotten through this far? I hope everything works out well.


You should.... in USA I was approved in a month. I am stage 4 of breast cancer.

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I was a senior nurse in the NHS. Got sick suddenly at 32 and got medically retired at 35. Absolutely gutted and still am.

I love my work. The isolation since has been unbearable partly because I am still flaring since the diagnosis and I am totally unable to be exposed to any UV so can't leave the house in daylight. If I do I might just as well check myself into hospital with pericarditis.

Oh, and to top it off my fiance left me. He didn't want to marry someone who couldn't work! Nice!

I would say this, giving up work because of ill health is a horrible thing to have to do and for years I felt shame. I am now 37 and just beginning to accept the fact that I am not working because I am too unwell. It takes some adjusting but health has to come first.

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Hello I was retired from NHS when I was 37. It's not an easy process, being under 50 makes it hard to get everyone to agree, particularly the "full medical pension" where everyone accepts that your permanently not well enough to work in any kind of employment

I think you'll probably have to "start" by being off sick whenever you are not well enough to work. This probably means accepting that you are too bad with your symptoms to do your job/ the impact of your job is seriously affecting the quality of your health and quality of life

I don't think employers "look kindly" if they think someone is "trying to get an early pension" so it has to come from the angle of "sorry we can't keep your job for you as your too sick / not capable of doing it .... that can mean you do open yourself up to a possibility that you can get dismissed due to ill health/ capability

A few years ago I wrote a post on health unlocked about my experience of ill health retirement here's the link as it may help you get some info

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