Ill Health Retirement Advice : Hello. I’m seeking... - NRAS

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Ill Health Retirement Advice

Claireybee
Claireybee
28 Replies

Hello. I’m seeking advice from anyone who has successfully gained Ill health retirement due to RA from the Civil Service or similar.

After 21 years my lovely employers are kindly looking to kick me while I’m down and terminate my employment. They are pushing me to apply for IHR but I am concerned that due to the nature of my condition and the fact that one day I may be in remission, that I won’t qualify. I’m looking to find a precedent which I can use to support my application.

I am 44, have sero positive RA, was diagnosed 2.5 years ago and have been off sick for around 2 years on and off. I have tried and failed 3 DMARD and 2 Biologicals.

Any advice on the subject would be greatly received.

Many thanks

28 Replies
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KittyJ

Hi Claireybee, I worked for the local authority when I was diagnosed with RA and retired early on medical grounds. I’m not sure I’ll be much help though as it was a long time ago now and things will probably have changed. NRAS do some useful publications you can download, here’s a link to the employment ones if you haven’t seen them.

nras.org.uk/publications/ca...

If you think I can help in any way please do ask 😊

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rab1874

Hi Clairebee I retired medically 4 years ago at 50 due to RA and Angina, it was the best thing I did as I was struggling for 2 years previous,I worked for my Local Authority and it took me time to adjust but I’m fine now and plan my day accordingly, it takes me a while in the mornings to get going and it’s good now I don’t need to rush, the occupational health at work we’re great with me and helped me through the process, hope it works out for you xxx

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Claireybee

Thank you both, hope retirement is treating you well! The main issue I am struggling with is that OH are saying I don’t really qualify as I still haven’t exhausted every treatment opportunity and therefore I may get better. I need to come up with some defence for that. Xx

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Kerensa21

Do they actually understand what RA is; ? not curable, so I’m puzzled by ‘may get better’; there are some v good succinct definitions on nras site.

Tbh I didn’t find OH v good, they kept telling me how complicated IHR would be, how much paperwork etc. However my employer’s HR were great & sorted it for me. Obviously I had medical evidence. I worked in school so local authority. I wasn’t even on biologics then just 2 dmards tho pretty ill. Still worth a go despite what OH are saying, if it’s what you want. Have you got a Union maybe who could help? Good luck 😉

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Claireybee

Haha I’m not sure they do. I think ‘better’ just means well enough to work again. Thanks for your reply, it’s really good to hear of people’s positive outcomes 😊 x

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AgedCrone

Have had a word with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau....they give advice on ill health retirement?

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Mickymoo

Hi claireybee,

My name's lyndsey. I have also been in the civil service for 18 years now. I have had a final warning for sick absence and then had to take another 8 weeks after that (December last year). They sent me for a possible dismissal meeting which I won my case as I pushed my point that I was starting humira and it had been shown to others to have great results. Since then I have been diagnosed with heart failure (totally out of the blue) and am undergoing investigation with that at the moment. I had to go off sick again 2 weeks ago. I will be in the same boat as you again now. Can I ask , do you want to back at go with ill health retirement or do you want to push to keep working?? X

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Claireybee
Claireybee
in reply to Mickymoo

Hi Lyndsey, sorry to hear you are in a similar position and that you have been unwell. To be honest with you I’m not really sure how I feel. I have always loved my job and will be devastated when I have to accept that my career is over. When I’ve tried to return to work in the past it’s just not possible as I am a senior manager with a large team and have to manage a lot of risk. Even if I didn’t have any joint pain, the fatigue and brain fog means I just can’t concentrate or think straight anymore. I’ve basically been given an ultimatum - go for IHR or we will sack you on the grounds of capability. So on that basis I want to make sure that my application is as strong as it can be. If I can demonstrate that others have been given retirement in the same situation I think that will help. Sorry to ramble on! Good luck with your journey! Xx

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Mickymoo
Mickymoo
in reply to Claireybee

Im the same, I don't know anything else but the civil service and I love my job. It is proving to be too stressful now though. I would be gutted to have to leave it. Your best bet is definitely try to get ill health retirement. If you don't and they let you go on inefficiency grounds, I believe we leave with nothing. The only thing you can do is stress that treatments aren't working for you and even if you find one that does, you will still get flare ups, which are totally unpredictable. My last ohs referal was done in May I think and I kept stressing I was starting new treatment, so she wrote in her report that I was not eligible for ill health retirement due to the fact I was positive the humira was going to work. You'll have to stress the fact that there is no cure and it is a progressive disease. Have you got an ohs appointment coming up? Are you off sick currently or back at work?

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Claireybee
Claireybee
in reply to Mickymoo

Thanks for the advice. I had an OH meeting last week and a telecon with my manager and HR today. OH said that they wouldn’t normally support it especially as I am about to start on Baricitnib, but on balance she would agree that I wasn’t able to do any job for the ‘foreseeable future’. She said it would be 50/50. I’ve been off sick for 18 months now. Xx

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AgedCrone

Are you in a Union! If you are contact them..if not definitely take some sort of legal,advice. As I said before....the CAB can help.

Please try not to let your employers walk all over you...you have many rights which must be explored.

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Claireybee

Thank you for the encouraging words. I was in the union for years but my subs lapsed (typical 🙄). I am hoping to rejoin though and I will also try the CAB. TBH I do feel a bit like I’m being railroaded into things. Xx

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AgedCrone

Definitely rejoin the union....get in touch soonest & explain your situation...unions love taking on the bosses.,

I was diagnosed just as I retired which was a blessing as no way could I have worked.

Vey good luck.

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Claireybee

Thank you 😊 xx

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Mickymoo

Sorry I ment to say do you want to stay working or are you trying for ill health retirement?? Xx

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Mmrr

I can only tell you my story.

I obtained a medical retirement as a lecturer approaching 2 years ago. I was 58 and could not have worked anymore.

HR were very helpful as was the OH department were I worked. They both interviewed, assessed me and advised me on the process, guided me on what to submit to my pension companies. (I had a pension with 2 different companies).

I submitted a range of evidence to support my application including rheumatology letters , scan results, a GP letter and a personal statement. I went big on this point and submitted a strong case.

We outlined my failed DMARDs, my PIP success and my ongoing fatigue, joint deterioration and the difficulty involved with prognosis and RD.

One company awarded my pension from the paper evidence, the second I had to undertake a medical examination, but was successful in my claim.

The process although lengthy, about 6 months from start to finish, was straight forward. I find not having to worry about work a great bonus.

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Claireybee
Claireybee
in reply to Mmrr

Thank you so much. I was thinking about applying to DWP for copies of my PIP interview report so I will definitely do that now. I asked the OH advisor if they needed my PIP stuff and she said no. My only concern about that is that they have only awarded me PIP for 3 years as my situation ‘may change’. Maybe I’m just overthinking it now 😅 xx

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Mmrr
Mmrr
in reply to Claireybee

My PIP was awarded for 3 years, I think that is pretty standard practice. It is only a few health things that get longer, having no sight hor example.

My OH dept were very good at highlighting how I could not carry out my duties, alternative duties were considered, but if I could not do my job I could not do other similar duties.

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net2012

Claireybee I was retired on Ill Health Tier 1 from Local council authority in 2015. I actually worked in a college cleaning.

I was diagnosed with RA in 2012. For 18 months I was treated with MTX, and then when that did not work Sulfasalazine was added. In 2014 I started a biologic, which I was allergic to, which also gave me infections so for a period of time I had to come off all meds, and then by the end of 2014 I was in a pretty bad state with a serious infection and still flaring, that is when I was off for a month.

My employers had become pretty concerned with the state of my health, and in my case I knew they were trying to look after me, rather than trying to get rid of me.

I had an Occupational Nurse sent to my house, so I got copies of letters from Rheumatology and my GP for the last year, and gave them to her and she questioned me on why was I working still. In the end she said I am recommending you for ill health retirement.

I then attended an appointment with an Occupational Physician. He had reports from my Rheumatologist, my GP and the OH nurse and he retired me on Ill Health Tier 1.

I will quote from the report he sent to my employers and Lincolnshire Pension Fund.

DIAGNOSIS and current health status.

Mrs ***** reports two problems affecting several joints.These are RA and OA. When the degenerative changes of OA occur so rapidly as a consequence of the inflammatory changes of RA, the overall clinical picture is one of severe impairment. This is confirmed by the use of 2 different DMARDS in her treatment. These are medications that damp down the body's immune system to reduce the inflammatory changes of RA. Although they have been effective at reducing some of the visible swelling and delayed the progress of joint degeneration these medications are well known to lead to a reduced resistance to infection etc, etc.

OPINION and recommendations.

In my opinion Mrs***** has significant impairment of musculoskeletal function from a combination of inflammatory arthritis and associated soft tissue (tendon and ligament) dysfunction. The problems can be expected to be long term. Management is characterised by control of symptoms and support for the impairment rather than a CURE. As with many long term physical health conditions, the symptoms can be expected to fluctuate and at some point in future the inflammatory component may settle down. However, the degenerative consequences will remain.

In myopinion, her symptoms meet the criteria for Tier 1 ill health retirement. These are that she is permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of their current employment because of ill health and not immediately capable of undertaking any gainful employment and that she is unlikely to be capable of undertaking any gainful employment before their normal pension age.

NRAS do have some great information with regards employment, also I would get a union involved, someone to be with you. Also make sure they do understand any medication you are taking is not a cure for your disease. I actually applied for a disabled bus pass because of my foot, and my GP had to fill part of the application and he refused as he said a letter from my consultant said I was in remission. Oh dear GP should have read that you are not allowed to make the decision on the drugs you are on, rather your condition that your disease has left you in. I explained that nicely and my GP did then fill in the application form.

Sorry it has been long winded post but hope it may help. Jeanette

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Claireybee
Claireybee
in reply to net2012

Oh thank you Jeanette, that is so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share this with me xx

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NiaB

Hi Claire, sorry to hear what you’re going through.

Are you aware of the Civil Service guide to IHR? It’s online here civilservicepensionscheme.o...

I hope it helps.

xx

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Claireybee
Claireybee
in reply to NiaB

Hi, yes I’ve seen this. Thanks though x

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Sarahg62

Hi. I worked for the civil service for 31 years ( all of that time I had RA). Things became unbearable 7 years ago. My HR was causing all sorts of problems for me, not adhering to the rules, ignoring the DDA guidelines, so I applied for medical retirement. Even then they were no help, Losing the paperwork, sending it to the wrong department etc. Once it reached the correct person, I was granted MR straight away. Best thing I ever did.

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Claireybee
Claireybee
in reply to Sarahg62

So pleased you got there in the end! Xx

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summerfruits

Hi, i retired at 49 after working within the local nhs, I didn’t have any problem getting my pension, my occ health doctor was brilliant and said he would push for me to get my pension but the final decision wasn’t his, it took 3 months to come through I wasn’t on biologics at the time, I had a tier two pension which is a bit more as the RA will never be cured, hope this helps and you get the outcome you want, I’ve been retired for four years .

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Claireybee

Wow. That would be the perfect scenario 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

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summerfruits

Will keep my fingers crossed for you 😊

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Sarahg62

Thank you. It was very stressful. HR kept intimating that I wouldn’t get it, would have to go through a medical and an interview. The CMO granted it within a week 😊👍

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