NHS Retirement and pension

Hi just wanted to give back after once again getting great advice on here instantly .

If you are finding it increasingly difficult to do your job as I am . Then the worry of how you will pay your bills if you lose your job may be one of your stressors that is not helping .

I have been out of my mind re latter and feel slightly better today as I gain knowledge and support as following . So wanted to share ;

1.Please contact your union for advice now.

there is some stuff I have learnt from union . BUT Don't take my word for it as may have got some of this wrong . Can only terminate contract when at last stage of sickness . Will offer redeployment where U can be offered a job if becomes vacant over a window of about 3months .

But what made me feel better was I had been scared could lose my job and would have no income whilst applying for ill health retirement and so I thought I needed to apply now . Rather than spending time trying to get better so I could do the job I love . I am off sick for last week and trialling change of meds .

But apparently they have to pay U for 3 months after termination . So I would have time to apply and get outcome of application whilst being paid . Of course there is the worry I get turned down so.....

2. Apply now to pension dept in hospital for forecast of pension .

I asked for actuarial reduced pension . Which is pension you could get early . Nothing to do with illness . Its reduced . I am early 50s and I thought I had to be 60 to get my pension . So I was shocked and relieved as didn't think I would last that long . Hashi's being degenerative . So probably get worse and worse . I also got tier 1 and tier 2 forecasts . I am thinking through the pros and cons . For instance if take reduced pension and don't apply for ill health one . I could do agency work for NHS and be sure of work this way . But if get ill health pension . Can't do same role .SO can't be sure of another job in shop etc with sick record and Hashimoto's and would need a job .

3. Have to apply for guaranteed minimum pension test and PASS it before U can claim early ordinary pension

This can be done now by pension officer . Independent of whether U are going to take pension now . So I have asked for this now so I have one less hurdle to worry about .

4. Check info on union websites and nhsba websites etc re pensions .

5. When attending any h.r meetings and it says can have union rep there . Have them . I didn't and they were lovely to me in h.r . But now I think he may have been able to discuss my not going up a level of sickness or better work adjustments . Also I would not have worried so much for last week .

6.remember your health comes first . I felt guilty if I was off sick coz have" good" days and bad a.good days in that maybe I could work but as was pointed out to me . That is the nature of your illness . But if you come back in as son as U R well and then off again when ill . As I was doing . (As I was coming in before sick note ran out) . Then you are gonna go up sickness stages very quickly and U R out the door . If U still feel guilty ,as I do re the good days then think of the time your sick note is for as a time to make a plan to optimise your health . I am sing time to trial change of dosage . Something I dare not to do when in work . As sometimes makes me ill . Also I can trial change in exercise regime . Which can knacker me and threaten work stamina next day and so brain fog at work . Not good .i am already gluten free and eating lots more fruit veg and no obvious sugar I can also see if I am well all the time without work in my life . So I will know if it is actually the cause of still being symptomatic , and then make my life decisions from that . So by using this time productively for the good of the NHS in the long run . I feel calmer and can concentrate on getting well hopefully guilt free and financially less worried . I hope this helps someone

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21 Replies

  • Thanks for posting that. So many folk in that situation I'd imagine. I've still 20 years to complete at work, I'm 45! It scares me as I'm not good with facts & figures. I could have an official conversation with union or management and totally forget what any of them said. Hashi's as well as head injured.. the future scares me x

  • Weescone ,please read my latest post as I thought have to stay till 60. Just check with pension officer . Remember U get lump sum too . With this I am paying off my loan and some other stuff which will make my monthly outgoing less . Don't need to be good at figures . There are people who can go through options for you . Ask me if you want . No good at anything really except figures lol but true xxxx

  • Hiya and thank for this. I am same age as you and in exactly the same position within the nhs. Its scared me to death for ages thinking how much longer can I go on whilst my adrenals and everything else was shot. Push came to shuff 6 weeks ago. Got flu, then pleurisy and my CFS kicked in badly. In bed 2 weeks and am slowly coming round. Still of work and recognised at that lowest point, if I carried on I would be putting myself into an early grave. It just isnt worth it. So am forming a bit of a plan and thinking of taking early retirement and just working 2 days a week. I have hypothyroidism and pernicious anaemia also. Just done a 24 hr saliva adrenal test again and awaiting the result. Did one 5 years ago and it was stage 3 maladaption. Nothing is worth putting your health at risk. Its such a hard decision and scarey one to make. Thanks for bringing this to the forum ...

  • I am glad it has helped . I am so sorry that U are going through so much . Yes I totally empathise with U being scared for your own health . I also get scared that I may one day put someone else at risk in my job . This is why I wont go in when I am having brain fog days . Also I alert manager on those days if already in work . So anyone on here I am not putting anyone at risk I just worry . And this means I let my colleagues down . Management have said they have no problem with any of my work and know I am professional in voicing when I am under par . However as I believe stress of job makes me more ill . I am going to see if get early retirement . Not ill health one but first ask to be demoted to health care assistant . My pension will top up my salary and lump sum will pay off some of my present outgoing . This way I can do the job I love still and survive financially . I am not sure whether this is feasible yet . Got to look into whether can get flexible pensioning and go down to HCA . Or can go down to HCA as a work adjustment due to ill health . As redeployment . And then claim pension a.don't think it will affect my pension amount . As will be on lower salary only a couple of months before I get it .and pension is calculated on best pay of last three years I think . This way I have a secure job with no stress and same effectively monthly pay .

    Would that be an idea for you ?

  • poppppy,

    Thanks for such a useful post. I've filed it in our newly created Topic 'Income, benefits etc' to make it easily accessible in the future.

    The Topics list can be found on the right of the page (if you're viewing on a computer)

  • So useful, thanks

    RedApple, I didn't know about keeping posts somewhere for future, but can't see Topics list.

    Could you please elaborate?


  • SleepySusie, what and where you see it depends on what device are you using... laptop, pad, phone etc.

    Let me know your device and I'll try to help :)

  • Thanks

    Ipad and Mac laptop


  • Ok... on your laptop, scroll up towards top of this page until you see this post's title. On the right you should see three white boxes on a plain grey background. Top one is headed Related Posts, second down is Pinned Posts and the next is Topics.

    I've just checked on an iPad mini, and I see the same thing as on laptop :)

  • Fab, thanks so much

  • Just done it, light bulb moment!

  • Hi Red apple ,and thank you . Just looked in topic folder and nothing in there yet . Is that what should happen . Or do I need to put it in Xx

  • poppppy, I have added it for you, but I think there's a technical glitch.

    There is a (1) after topic name, which should be your pst, but when you look it says nothing there!

    Maybe the databases are out of sinc and it will sort itself out in time :)

  • I was dismissed from my NHS job following thyroidectomy (long story of ill health and poor treatment). Was advised by the union that it is very difficult to get ill health retirement. They advised me to wait to be dismissed as you rightly say you then are paid 3 months salary I lieu of notice and that gives you time to apply for your pension. Mine came through in that time though the pensions agency warns it could take longer. Harder to deal with the resentment at being dismissed due to poor treatment by NHS!!

  • So sorry U went through such an ordeal . It me being thick but did U get ill health retirement granted or did U just get early retirement instead . How scary that union said hard to get . And also pensions said U wouldn't probably get it in time before yr 3 months ran out . To think U gave so much to the NHS including your health and U get thrown on the scrap heap . But I just think my reward has come from the feeling I get from having comforted so many people in their hour of need . A privelidged position to be in . Now pass the sick bucket lol . Sorry for being corny but know U will get it xxx

  • I decided not to even try for ill health retirement. Even the occupational health Dr said it was virtually impossible to get so I waited to be dismissed and took early retirement. I have been saddened and shocked at the treatment and attitude I have experienced and there are certainly some professionals who should be ashamed of themselves. As you say it feels like being thrown on the scrap heap and is accompanied by a huge sense of failure but I am so grateful to have my NHS pension as don't know where I would be without it. Yes I do get it and not corny at all :)

  • Oh no Debjs where does the failure come in .if its that U couldn't do your job anymore then It is just random misfortune that U have this illness and so out of your hands . You had to leave . But the years U gave to others in a very stressful job are a great credit to you . Why do we humans put ourselves down . Think its because we forget we are human . So we set the wrong goals .Goals for gods or robots. As a human you succeeded . As a god you would have failed lol but true.

    Btw The ill health retirement money is hardly any more and yes I have been told not much chance of it . So I think U did the right thing not attempting a claim also you would have been turned down then had to wait ,with no income as 3 months ended by then, for early retirement money . So not worth it for difference in amount . Also free to get a job U can do if U want in the future with no big brother stuff .


  • Thanks poppppy, much appreciated. & weescone, I have to say I am with you! I'm 38, have had PA since I was 21 & recently diagnosed Hashi. Occ Health reckon I've probably had CFS since I had glandular fever at 17. I live on my own & only just got started on the housing ladder 3 years ago with shared ownership. I've got a whole 6-ish years of pension behind me (!!) & would be terrified if I let myself think of the future. I cannot believe that I will still be doing this for another 30-odd years as I am on my knees now. I do try very hard to just focus on "now" & take each day as it comes but it's actually helpful sometimes to hear someone acknowledging the fear & being able to talk about it. Thank you. Seems a bit less scary now.

  • I wonder if this is an option . Are U shared ownership with social housing . A housing trust . Could U find out that if necessary re your finances if U could not work they can buy back the half and U pay rent on all of house instead . This U would then get in benefits . Sorry if this is a silly idea or offensive .

    I just find to help myself stop worrying I like to work out worst case scenario answers . I also forget that there is a word called HOPE and one called faith or trust and they exist for a reason and one should hold on to them xxxxxx

  • Hi and thank you Sisalcat , wish I could help in some other way . Hate to think Unger scared like me re all this . Yes not thinking ahead too far is definitely correct way to live and wise , as research shows 99%of things people worry about happening don't actually happen . So realistic not optimistic to believe it will be ok . You could win lottery . Marry a rich man . Or find a solution that U didn't know about . For instance I didn't know till 2 weeks ago that one can take early retirement in NHS before 55 years of age . In fact I thought for my personal situation I had to wait till 60. And could not see how I could survive . Please when U feel up to it gain knowledge from any source on what your options are for the future . as hopefully some of your worries like me can be relieved .

  • Dear poppppy,

    Thank you for your dead helpful ideas and supportive posts! Definitely worth looking in to & something I can explore. I am like you & find it helpful to establish options (whatever they turn out to be)...did read that problem-solvers are attracted to the NHS!! To be fair, I know I am lucky that's who I work for as not all employers have the same conditions we do. Wishing you all the best, and thank you for posting your inspiring story / words. Take care xxx

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