Pensions – Obtaining an Ill-Health Pension


This leaflet considers some of the key points to making an application for early retirement and payment of a work-related pension on the ground of ill-health and disability. It also considers prognosis and permanency in ME/CFS which can form a key part of any discussion with an employer or pension provider.

All employees have a right to ask their employer to make reasonable adjustments to ensure they are not disadvantaged at work due to a medical condition or disability. And if these adjustments make it possible to continue working, taking early retirement is not going to be an option. However, there are situations where adjustments are far more difficult to make – in which case taking a pension earlier than anticipated is an option that may need to be considered.

Ill health retirement is when you draw your pension before the age of 55 (or the scheme’s ordinary retirement date) due to ongoing ill health or disability. To be successful a decision will normally be based on the fact that you can no longer continue to work in your normal job, or one that seriously reduces your earning potential.

Discussed in this leaflet: How does the small print in the pension policy define permanent ill-health? How long has your ME/CFS persisted and how is it progressing? Is the diagnosis of ME/CFS correct? Has ME/CFS been properly managed? Have cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) been attempted? How old are you? Do you have any other medical conditions? Challenging adverse decisions.

Telephone Helpline

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

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