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Common concerns

Decisions on ill health retirement

If you become unwell, are diagnosed as having a terminal illness, or have an accident that means you can no longer work or do your job, it may be possible to ask to receive your pension early.  Some schemes allow pensions to be paid early because of ill health but each scheme may define this differently and have different conditions.  The requirements will be set out in your scheme’s rules. See our leaflet ‘Retiring early due to ill health

To receive your pension early, you will need to provide your pensions scheme or employer with details of your ill health/condition and why this means that you can no longer work. Your scheme will then consider your case and make a decision.

Making a decision

When making a decision, the decision-maker should:

  • Correctly use your scheme’s rules;
  • Ask the right questions;
  • Only take account of relevant factors and ignore everything that is irrelevant;
  • Not make a perverse decision. This means a decision no other decision-maker could reasonably make.

Appealing a decision

If your request for ill health early retirement is refused, it’s possible to challenge a decision if one or more of the above was not followed. If that is the case, the decision-maker should reconsider. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a different decision would then be made.


How can we help?

We aren't medical experts. We cannot decide if a pension should be awarded. But we can check if the decision was made properly. And we can help you appeal if there are grounds to challenge how the decision was made. We will also explain your scheme’s requirements.


What do we need from you?

You should send us copies of all relevant correspondence about your application. One of our advisers will examine your paperwork and explain whether they think there are grounds to appeal.


Frequently asked...

I lost my job because I’m ill. But my scheme says I don’t qualify for an ill health pension?

Although you lost your job because of your health, your eligibility for an ill health pension depends on the criteria in your scheme’s rules. In some schemes even if you cannot do the job that you are/were doing due to ill health, if you're still capable of doing “a” job you may not fit their criteria. We can check what the rules of your scheme mean for you.

My GP supports my application. Why can they turn me down?

It’s not uncommon for there to be differences in medical opinions. While your GP’s opinion is relevant, the decision-maker is also able to obtain their own medical opinion and choose the one they think is most appropriate. What is important is that they make their decisions properly. For example, they should ask the right questions if they need clarification from medical experts.

The scheme’s medical adviser didn’t see me. That can’t be right?

There is no requirement for a medical adviser to meet you. That would be down to their professional judgement. What is important is that the decision-maker makes their decision in line with the principles above.

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.

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