I am 49 years old and have been battling with GPA for 2 and a half years now and despite all the steroids, 16 pulses cyclophosphamide, 8 lots of retuximab and all of the other drugs, operations etc I am still ANCA positive. My consultant at Addenbrookes is still confident that remission can be achieved so I can only hope that she is right.
Anyway, the point of my post is to ask if there are any others out there who have experience of trying to arrange their finances whilst being unable to work due to this disease. Up until now, I have been employed but on extended sick leave. Paid for the first 6 months then my employers income protection policy took over and their insurers paid me a percentage of my salary for 2 years. This period will end in January 2018 when it is either return to my substantive role or they will terminate my contract of employment. Returning to work is not an option with the symptoms I have plus the risks of flaring due to exposure to infections, stress etc so it looks like termination. Having never been unemployed and having no experience of claiming any kind of benefits apart from PIP which the hospital advised me to do, I am a bit lost as to how I am going to manage. I believe that there is something called contribution based ESA which I intend to apply for but as my wife works and earns more than the limit laid down by DWP (about 50p per year I think it is), so I think that I am ineligible for any of the other benefits as they are means tested.
I have contributed to several workplace and a private pension over the years and although they do not amount to a fortune (I estimate about £170,000 in total split between 4 different companies), the money is inaccessible to me until minimum of 55+ years old. About half the money is with Aviva who are the providers of the pension for my current (although soon to be ex) employer. Has anyone had any experience of asking to access pension funds early on grounds of ill health? Any advice or experiences from people in this kind of situation will be gratefully received.