Pensions and M.E>

Hi all. I've been out of work due to the M.E. for almost a year, (I've been sick for 2+ years gradually getting worse), it’s exacerbated with other health conditions).

Work is now putting pressure on the Occupational Health Dr for a determination to see if I am going to be fit to return to work “in the foreseeable future”. Unless there is a miracle over the festive period I am nowhere near fit for work as I am unable to look after myself let alone another, (I work in NHS). Some days I do little more than lie about and my cognitive functioning is terrible as I cannot keep track of anything and a situation remotely stressful or requiring focus and concentration drains me and I cannot respond properly.

I won’t be seeing the Occupational Health Dr until the end of January which is a month or so over my years sick, ‘(and HR came across as if they were doing me a BIG favour!). By then I imagine I will be told I am to loose my job, (absolutely gutted at loosing a career I love dearly). Just what I need – more stress!!

Have any others on here gone through the same experience? What is likely to happen with the pension? Any/all advice welcome.

Many thanks for replies.

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3 Replies

  • Hi,

    What a dreadful condition this is and how sad that we lose so much.

    I have also lost a career I loved dearly after 15 years excellent service and building up fantastic pay and benefits.

    My pension is now sitting with the company I worked for and when I manage to get back to work I can either leave my pension with my old company or transfer my pension. You company should have a HR manager who will be able to give you all the options available. If that isn't available go online and you can get a broad overview of what options are available.

    One thing I would say is this year started off awful. I thought I was dying of some mystery illness. I lost my career. I could barely function and I felt my life was falling apart in front of my eyes and there was nothing I could do.

    I got an ME diagnoses in April, lost my job in May and cried until July about it all. From August I've been more accepting about my situation, let go off all the hurt, I'm taking lots of vitamins and have the most rigid, nutritious diet. Slowly, slowly I'm feeling better even though I have just diagnosed with POTS (and something else but the short term memory won't let me remember what the condition is).

    In this time I have worked hard to qualify as a food intolerance tester and am taking a course to qualify as a counsellor. I can only do very limited studying (and sometimes it's from my bed) but it has kept my spirits up and when I'm ready (and able) I'll be able to start another career, on my terms, which can be flexible to my condition.

    My message is I felt your sorrow and know how rotten it is to lose a career but there is light at the end of the tunnel. My life maynot be going how I planned (understatement of the year), but I have a life, I get to see my kids everyday, my man and family has stuck by me through the darkest of days.

    Stay positive, have hope and I wish you all the very best.


  • Hi - I'm sure you've covered all the obvious angles but just in case - have you contacted Action for M.E. and The M.E. Association to see what they can advise here?

    If you've been clinically diagnosed with M.E., which it sounds as if you have, then surely your G.P. would be able to support your absence from work, on that basis, with whomever he/she needs to get in contact with at your place of work?

    You say your M.E. is exacerbated by other health conditions, maybe this would help to back up your case.

    I'm sorry not to be able to offer you anything practical but I really feel there must be a way forward for you on this matter.

    Best of luck and a very happy Christmas to you :)

  • Hi,

    I had several months off work and was referred for an Occupational Health report.

    I'd suggest you look at your employer's absence policy as this will shed light on what they are likely to do.

    The Citizen's Advice Bureau has an informative page on what a tribunal would look at, I know this seems drastic but it shows what the employer should be doing now:

    A key question is whether you'd be able to complete any work; not necessarily at the capacity you had before. Are you able to work even a couple of days, sitting down or with light duties or is there another role you could do?

    HR people can lack empathy and some of the statements they come out with about 'doing you a favour' can be manipulative since it might be what they'd do anyway.

    I wasn't able to do my food shopping and struggled with other daily tasks, but managed to find a way to get to the office (with the help of an Access to Work grant and a wheelchair I bought myself) and work a few days a week. Admittedly, I have a desk job. After a trial period we settled on 3-days per week. I was lucky that my 'brain came back on' and I could figure out a way through it - is it a incurable illness on a downward trend or a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and do you genuinely need assistance to be able to work? My main issue was, and still is, my mobility.

    The OH report in my case reinforced other medical evidence and requests for 'reasonable adjustments' and helped me get back to work.

    You'll be much harder to dismiss if you're capable of doing some work. If this doesn't seem likely, then at some point you will run out of time and the disciplinary process will kick in and you'll need to satisfy yourself as to whether or not they've acted unfairly, which will depend upon whether they've followed their internal policies as well what an employment tribunal would expect to see.

    I hope some of this helps.


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