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Ill Health Retirement from civil service


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Has any other reader taken Ill Health Retirement from the British Civil Service?

What were your experiences?

I have had some really awful ones and am claiming compensation, I would like to know how other people coped and what their reaction is to the process.

If you could contact me I would be grateful as I intend to fight the Civil Service to get the procedures changed as at the moment there are no set down regulations/timescales/updates on the procedure which is complicated and tedious.



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Having handled many, both deserving and otherwise, cases in what had previously been a Civil Service organisation, I can confirm that the process is long, convoluted, and confusing, and I'm afraid is destined to remain so.

The biggest single set of problems stemmed from the changed role of Ill health retirement.

Some years ago IHR was a mutually convenient exit strategy and many cases were nodded through with only the briefest scrutiny.

Things changed and whereas ill health had been almost automatic route to ill health retirement, a new category came into existence, ill health, which was recognised as the cause of an  inability to perform a role, but with no pension payment, just a simple termination of contract.

This was particularly true of illnesses such as ME, stress etc  where there was a possibility of recovery at some later date.

Bon chance.


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Both my hubby & I have been medically retired from the Civil Service in the last year.  I have Degenerative Disc Disease (with 6 torn discs at the moment) & Mark has had ME for 20 years.  I'm 40 & Mark's 43.

To be honest our experiences with Personnel Branch & OHS were quite good - but we did have to push, with the help of our Welfare Branches, to be retired.  You need a good GP, Consultant & evidence that you have covered every possible means of recovery.  I was off from 2001-2003, returned to work part-time, but after a year, tore another disc & that was that. 

Mark struggled for years to continue working - but last January just couldn't go on.  He had a very good health & service record (he was a Grade 7/Principal - but I think the grades are different over in England) & was really surprized when he heard he was being medically retired, as they had said he may be dismissed on grounds of inefficiency, as it was impossible to say if he would recover or not.

I think that Northern Ireland Civil Service may have a better structure in place  - I'll e-mail you details of our dealing with Personnel, OHS & anything else I think might help.


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I obtained my retirement after almost two years of fighting to get IHR. I had a stroke in 2000 and was in a wheelchair, I was also  still receiving  medical certificates from my GP when I was told I would have to report for work on a given date!

what I found most upsetting was that there is no guidance set down with timescales for when things will happen, we continually had to ask for updates and when I was refused IHR I was told I could appeal. We appealed and received a letter telling us we couldn't appeal on the grounds we had appealed on. It was only after that we were told the grounds we could appeal on!

The process took so long and there is no information given when you apply to retire on IHR grounds. I am claiming compensation for the lack of due care taken by the Civil service and my union have been negotiating on my behalf. Unfortunately, the union rep left my claim in his in tray for so long and despite my and the head office trying to get things going it just dragged on. The Union Secretary intervened and things have now progressed.

My view is that when someone applies for IHR they should be given a pack detailing the procedure, even if it is a long process this should be explained. timescales should be given for both sides and if these timescales cannot be met then contact should be made asking for an extension but at least contact will be maintained. The grounds for an appeal should be made clear and the applicant should not be left to flounder in the dark.

I have been told that timescales cannot be implicated because it would prove inflexible. I don't believe this and intend to do what I can to improve things for future applicants. I was lucky enough to have my husband to assist me in my application but what about those who are alone and have to fight to get their IHR?

In one letter from the Civil Service I was told to just get on and live with things, in effect live with it. My condition hasn't suddenly become different I am in the same position but I think that it is believed giving IHR will suddenly make someones's condition improve overnight.

To fight this and make improvements for the future I need to have details of the problems faced by applicants.



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I have finally been allowed to claim my pension from the civil service on ill health grounds. I have CFS/ME and have been unable to work for the past 2 years. Although I left the civil service 10 years ago I have a preserved pension. After a bit of a fight I finally saw a civil service doctor who has certified me unfit and likely to remain so. He recommended that my preserved pension be awarded to me. I also have a preserved military pension and even though I have supplied the same information to the army they still refuse to pay the pension. I am nearly 53 and really cannot find the energy to keep fighting the MOD.

Good luck to all who have to fight to get pensions etc.


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