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Ill health retirement

Berkshire UK
I'm hoping that somebody may have experienc on ill health retirement in the UK

I actually became sick with ME in 2006 whilst working for local government. Despite informing them of ME they did not make reasonable adjustments and it all became quite grim, but I went on half pay and then won a constructive dismissal claim due to my treatment from my boss. Now at the time I remember asking about ill health retirement I think to the pension scheme and I vaguely remember being told ME was not recognised that I wouldn't work again.

I've no idea why it's com back into my brain but it has and as I'm still not able to work I'm looking through documents and wondering if I should have had had early pension.

I'm just hoping that as years later that can still go for it but just worried as I don't have me asking question at the time, just notes on a piece of paper although it seems the employer who are local government have a duty towards me ...

All advice most welcome. I'm 85% housebound ... Not able to work as bed bound 3 days at least a week.



charles shepherd

Senior Member

Firstly, the MEA has two information leaflets covering (a) pension applications relating to retirement on the grounds of permanent ill health and (b) permanency and prognosis in ME/CFS. If not, they can be obtained from the MEA on-line shop - or by phoning the MEA office (see below).

Secondly, from the basic information you have provided, it sounds as though you have a strong case to put forward

Thirdly, I have attached some basic MEA information that I supply when these sort of queries arise - which they do on a very frequent basis!

Fourthly, if you need to obtain an independent medical report, there aren't many doctors who do this sort of work in a competent manner. Most who do so (myself included) have more work pouring in than we can cope with. But it would be worth trying my close colleague Dr William Weir (infectious diseases specialist) who does these type of reports and sees private patients at 10 Harley Street, London W1.

Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, MEA


1 If a pension provider insists on you having a course of CBT and/or GET before considering your application you will probably need to go through the process of arranging a course of CBT and/or GET - unless you can produce a good medical report which states that these two forms of treatment are not going to be helpful or, in the case of inappropriate GET, could make your condition worse.
You can also refer to the MEA report on CBT, GET and Pacing

2 We have three MEA booklets and leaflets that cover issues relating to employment and early retiement on the grounds of permanent ill health

Employment booklet - fully updated in 2016

Obtaining an ill health pension:


Prognosis and permanency

3 I cover the issue of specific occupations, including teaching, in the Employment chapter of Living with ME (Vermilion paperback available free from any public library).

4 This is a recent Question and Answer in ME Essential that covers the practical aspects of permanency.


Despite being quite badly affected by ME for the past three years, and not being able to return to work, my company have refused to let me retire on the grounds of permanent ill health. This is mainly because they will not accept that my ill health is now going to be permanent - which my own doctor believes it is. What can I do?


When it comes to decisions about early retirement on the grounds of ill health there are no strict rules in the case of ME/CFS. However, various guidelines exist, especially in the public sector, which are going to heavily influence how an application is considered.

In very simple terms, the key factors which should be taken into consideration are:

•Your age and the age at which you would normally retire.

•The type of work done.

•The state of your health and disability relating to ME/CFS.

•Any other health problems you have that are relevant.

•The course of your illness so far - in other words is it improving, static or deteriorating?

•Whether all reasonable steps have been taken to confirm the diagnosis

•Whether your illness has been managed in an effective and appropriate manner.

•The likely prognosis.

The final point is often the most important deciding factor. In other words, is it now likely that your ill health is permanent? And will you never be able to return to work?

So on this crucial issue of permanency it's important to obtain a copy of any regulations which state how the pension provider defines permanent ill health.

As a rough guideline, my personal view is that an application should normally be given serious consideration if someone has been ill with ME/CFS for around 4 years, has not been able to return to work, is not making any significant progress, and has tried all appropriate forms of management.

But there will be exceptions - for example someone who is nearing retirement age, or has other medical problems in addition to ME/CFS.

As to what you should do next, it will obviously help your case if you can obtain a good medical report that deals with the above points.

If this is supportive of your case there may be an appeal mechanism for re-assessing the application.

And if you belong to a union or professional body you should seek further advice there.

You could also consider taking legal advice from a solicitor with expertise in this area or going to the Pensions Ombudsman if you feel that you have a strong case.

charles shepherd

Senior Member
We are also discussing this subject on MEA Facebook at the moment:


Anonymous please:

Hi I'd like any information or experiences with applying and/or being approved for medical retirement due to ME.

I'm 46, had ME for 4 years. My job is quite high level, very diverse and complex. I've made lots of changes to my life, decreased my hours and work from home one day a week. But it has gradually got the better of me and I just can't cope with it anymore.

If this goes as a post could it be anonymous please. Thank you.


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Silence speaks volumes

I retired on ill health 4 years ago under the Local Government Pension Scheme. My diagnosis was CFS/ME and I was assessed to be unlikely to recover sufficiently to be able to work full time again, due to my illness, as well as being unable to continue in the post I was in despite any possible adjustments. The diagnosis was irrelevant; it just mattered whether or not the illness would affect my ability to work, under the rules of the pension scheme.

I paid privately to see a specialist and his report and those of Occupational Health Doctors I saw through work all went together to serve as evidence that I met the criteria of my particular pension scheme. I didn't think that I would so count myself very lucky.

Good luck with it.