Ill health retirement

If you have to leave work due to illness you may be able to receive immediate payment of your benefits.

To qualify for ill health benefits you have to have met the 2 years vesting period in the scheme and your employer, based on an opinion from an independent occupational health physician appointed by them, must be satisfied that you will be permanently unable to do your own job until your Normal Pension Age and that you are not immediately capable of undertaking gainful employment.

Your normal pension age in the LGPS is linked to your State Pension Age (with a minimum of 65). If you are not sure what your State Pension Age is you can check using this calculator.

Ill health benefits can be paid at any age and are not reduced on account of early payment, in fact, your benefits could be increased to make up for your early retirement. There are graded levels of benefit based on how likely you are to be capable of gainful employment after you leave.

Gainful employment means paid employment for not less than 30 hours in each week for a period of not less than 12 months.

The different levels of benefit are:

  • Tier 1 - if you are unlikely to be capable of gainful employment before your Normal Pension Age, ill health benefits are based on the pension you have already built up in your pension account at your date of leaving the scheme plus the pension you would have built up, calculated on assumed pensionable pay, had you been in the main section of the scheme until you reached your Normal Pension Age.
  • Tier 2 - if you are unlikely to be capable of gainful employment within 3 years of leaving, but are likely to be capable of undertaking such employment before your Normal Pension Age, ill health benefits are based on the pension you have already built up in your pension account at your date of leaving the scheme plus 25% of the pension you would have built up calculated on assumed pensionable pay, had you been in the main section of the scheme until you reached your Normal Pension Age.
  • Tier 3 - if you are likely to be capable of gainful employment within 3 years of leaving, or before your Normal Pension Age if earlier, ill health benefits are based on the pension you have already built up in your pension account at leaving. Payment of these benefits will be stopped after 3 years, or earlier if you are in gainful employment or become capable of such employment, provided you have not reached your Normal Pension Age by then. If the payment is stopped it will normally become payable again from your Normal Pension Age but there are provisions to allow it to be paid earlier. Details would be provided at the time.

However, if you have previously received a Tier 1 ill-health pension from the LGPS, or were awarded an LGPS ill-health pension before 1 April 2008, then no enhancement can be added to your pension account if you are retired again for reasons of ill-health.

If you have previously received a Tier 2 ill-health pension from the LGPS, any enhancement due upon a subsequent ill-health retirement is adjusted and capped. If, in respect of the subsequent ill-health retirement you are awarded a Tier 1 or Tier 2 pension, the enhancement cannot exceed three quarters of the number of years between the initial ill health retirement and your Normal Pension Age, less the number of years of active membership since the initial ill-health retirement.

If you were paying into the LGPS on 31 March 2008, and were aged 45 or over on that date and have been in continuous membership of the LGPS, then if you qualify for an ill-health pension where your benefits are based on enhanced membership there is protection to ensure your ill health retirement benefits are no less than they would have been under the scheme as it applied before 1 April 2008. This protection would not apply if you have previously drawn benefits on taking flexible retirement.