I am a new forum member. I was diagnosed in 2003 and applied for ill-health retirement in 2020. I am a civil servant on the alpha pension scheme. the private firm acting as the pension scheme medical advisor recommended a lower-tier pension in my case. I am appealing through the internal appeal process. I have involved the union early on. has any been through a similar experience recently. I am a bit anxious and could do with tips and hints.
A very warm welcome to the forum.
I’m sure you’ll hear from other members soon, but I just wanted to make you aware of the Parkinson’s UK website which you can find here. There’s a lot of useful information about Parkinson’s so take your time and explore.
If you’d like more information and support, you can contact 0808 800 0303 and speak to one of our advisers.
Forum Moderation Team
As you will be only too aware, pension schemes are very individual with their own set of rules and criteria which probably means that only somebody in a similar position to you in the same pension scheme could really offer support in terms of shared experiences and this is probably why you haven’t had a reply yet . My experience is not totally the same as yours but I was in a public sector pension scheme and have recently had to retire after working with Parkinson’s for 8-years following a confirmed diagnosis.
I really feel for you because it is such a difficult process to go through. I deeply resented the fact that I could not continue with a job that I loved while simultaneously spending a horrendous amount of time living with the prospect of being jobless, and therefore homeless, should I fall out of work due to health issues without my pension and with no real prospect of re-employment. To have to declare yourself to be lacking in capacity/ capability to do your job so very publicly and to have to chase evidence in support of this at a time when you are dealing with further emotional fallout from the impact of living with Parkinson’s Disease is really hard. Having to give up work a good 10 years earlier than I had intended to has been really hard to come to terms with.
I was actually awarded the higher tier pension and I think the decision was primarily based on the report submitted by my consultant along with hospital letters from my specialist nurse and other medical professionals which I felt filled in any gaps left by his letter. I also submitted my recent Access to Work report which was very supportive of the need for medical retirement and the union rep suggested that the letter I submitted in support of my claim would also have helped me, but who knows.
I’m glad that you have already had union support and really hope that you have their support with this appeal . This is essential in any ill health application process. The helpline staff are incredibly good but can only advise you so far in relation to pension queries because they cannot possibly have a full understanding of all the rules and regulations of the various pension schemes that are out there and cannot act in an advisory capacity in this respect.
Bearing in mind the variability of Parkinson’s symptoms and its undeniably degenerative nature, it is very difficult to know how decisions around which level of pension award should be given are made for those of us who fall out of employment because of it but I would definitely re-read all the small print on every document your pension scheme publishes with regard to ill health retirement.
As far as I understand the process, decisions are primarily based on medical evidence but medical evidence can be open to interpretation and the issue for you will probably be that have been considered to be able to work in some capacity even though you are unable to continue in your current role. I’m guessing that your union rep will advise you to look at the medical evidence you submitted and I further suspect that you will have to submit new or additional evidence to support any appeal. Again, you have probably already done this but I would go through your evidence with a tooth comb and try to consider what might not have been said in order to give the impression that you are able to continue to work when you clearly feel that this is not the case. It might also be an idea to look through hospital letters and reports you have received over the past years that might supplement the evidence that you have submitted but I do suspect you will ultimately have to get back in contact with your specialist nurse or consultant so bearing in mind the current crisis, it might be worth considering how to do this in preparation however your Union should be best placed to advise you because they should have a good understanding of the ins and outs of your particular scheme and this is what is essential in terms of your predicament.
I wish you all the best with what is a very difficult situation to deal with both emotionally and practically and would be really interested to hear how you get on.
Thanks for your note. is this message1:1 private email. ?
I’ve only posted the response above and haven’t sent any other messages yet - I can be a bit slow in responding sometimes. If you have a note or message from me in addition to the post above, could you possibly private messages it across to me. I’m quite capable of sending any amount of communication to the wrong people with my skitty hands but to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t sent anything and can’t find any record of further communication in my account so I’m a little confused.
Good morning Jackson,
How do I private message you?.
Apologies, I’ve only just seen this. This video clip should show how to send a private message.
I haven’t checked it but seem to remember that these help videos were pretty good.