Qualifying for Medical Retirement

Hi, I am 59 and was diagnosed with PD in 2007 & have continued to work since as I was keen to carry on as before. Now my symptoms affect my ability to work for a normal day, so have discussed retiring this year on medical grounds with my boss who has agreed.

However, his initial discussion with the Human Resource department said:
"He (me) should manage his expectations, as most people who get approved for MR have been on permanent sick leave for about 2 years".

Has anybody had a similar experience & what was the outcome?

I find it hard to accept that having made the effort to work as normal as possible for last 5 years, I'm now likely to be penalised.
In hindsight, I would have been better off just getting a sick note five years ago.
Any advice greatly appreciated.
hi moon,

i took ill health retirement last year and i was off sick 7mths before i actually retired so who ever told you it had to be 2yrs i think should check again, i worked for the nhs it might depend on the employer, it was,nt easy getting my pension sorted out i had to keep ringing hr and the pension department i also had a union rep who helped but i finally got there but i was certainly not off for 2yrs before, when i first applied for ill health retirement my case was sent to a independant company atos who look at the facts and any supporting evidence ie consultant or pd nurse reports or something from your gp, i was lucky i got a good report from my consultant and was awarded my retirement, hope things turn out right for you to find out the facts if you have a union rep get in touch they will know what the procedure is good luck. sue.
Hi Moon

My hubbie took MR 4 years ago this july, he had managed to work for 7 years think it was pure adrenaline that kept him going as he drove hundreds of miles each week doing about 50-60 hours a week.
He didn't go off sick but his home life suffered he suddenly let himself think about the madness and decided on advice from his boss to take sick leave he did this for 6 months then with a few assessments with HR and then independent assessment took MR he found it really hard at first but is so glad he did this. Mr Pd has advanced but think continuing working would have been worse.

If your work are saying 2 years your best bet is get a sick note from your GP explain the circumstances he should sign you off for 6 months it will depend on how long you would get full pay but at least it would give you a starting pont to take things forward.

Hope things go well for you in whatever decision you make .

Thanks Lilly & Bubble x for you comments.
They have given me some hope that I shall be retired sooner than I thought.
Hi Moon,

You might like to tell HR that most people who get MR don't have Parkinson's! Its the HR person who needs to manage his or her expectations not you. Get a report from your neurologist. Better yet, request your work to do so as it costs a few quid. It will point out to them what you have achieved by staying in work thus far and point out that you have a progressive, degenerative condition.

And if you get knocked back, - appeal. You don't say who your employer is. I worked in the civil service and it does seem that you sometimes have to work at the system not leave it to itself, but you are undoubtedly eligible and so I would say press on with your application and don't let the HR prejudice stop you. If you are in a union, they would likely be helpful to get on board as well.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.

I am considering MR but office are helping me cope with my PD by supporting anything I suggest for making my work easier. I am still mentally as alert as I ever was or was not, but physically my bad days are horrid. (Getting to and from work and worst still short notice meetings in different buildings when you can hardly walk.)
Coupled with this my GP will support my being off work with a sick note but neruologist is very positive and keeps telling me I am still physically / mentally in relatively good shape.
In the office another who was off with cancer returned after 2 years on sick to resume his work, and do not know of anyone being MR'ed until a good 18 months
on sick leave
I am currently on sick leave and have been since September, which was just prior to my diagnosis in October. I work in Education, which in itself creates numerous issues if I return to work . I have just been referred to Occupational Health for an assessment and that will be followed by a meeting at school. This meeting will I feel be a decider of whether I am fit to work or not.
I am concerned as I have freezing episodes without warning and if I am teaching this would be very alarming for myself and the pupils. Fatigue is a major issue as I get very tired very quickly throughout the day which affects my movement. Another issue is my handwriting which is appalling! Not a good thing when you need to mark books! I know I'm not ready to go back as I cannot comfortably do what my role entails.
At my last meeting just prior to Christmas retirement due to ill health was mentioned and also dismissal due to ill health! The latter alarmed my greatly and I contacted my union, who attended the meeting with me. I was reassured that the proposals were standard and other options can be considered.
I am leaning towards retirement as I feel my current job is not one I can maintain to a level that would be expected. HR however, are being very vague about what taking retirement entails and it adds to my anxieties. I hope with the support of my union the outcome with benefit me.
Having been newly diagnosed has been difficult enough without having my employers putting additional pressure on me. I'm very anxious about the situation and very confused.
Hi Promise,

I too work in education but as a Variable Hours Lecturer and worry about my future earning prospects. The thought that one day i'll have to have a work meeting or such like feels me with dread, i don't want others telling me if i can or cannot cope or even have a part in that decision making process even if i myself have doubts about my performance. I'm not even sure if i'll be entitled to anything as the nature of my job depends upon student uptake of courses and i see myself possibly taking on less hours as time goes by & therefore earning less which means any medical retirement benefit (or similar) will be minimal (if any thing at all!) :disappointed: So i shall be watching your's & others posts with interest of what might lie ahead of me. (diagnosed almost 2yrs now).
Handwriting is awful & i have just admitted (well nearly almost) that writing feedback on wk shts is pointless as i struggle to read what i have written so how can i expect others to decipher the scribble as meaningful? I even found the voice in my head saying "i don't do it anymore because i have Parkinsons" as if this is a reasonable excuse to offer up if questioned about my duties!:confused:.....So i watch your's & other's posts with interest to gain insight into what may lie ahead for me and can only be reassured at this point that at least i belong to a union for 1 - 1 advice.

Best of luck in your journey, thank you for sharing this.


Hi I was diagnosed in march this year but I.ve been off work since january I lost my husband  last year and as such I get his works pension we both worked for nhs well officially I still do got a meeting with my line manager and hr thiis week. As far as I understand it I will be leaving on thursday. But so far Ihave no idea what I'm entitled to keep getting different advice. I've been told I should get at least 12 weeks wages as I have woorked there for 14 years. My GP told me he had sent a report to the people who decide if I can get my pension early still don't know how thats gona work if Im getting it hoping all will be revealed on thurs. My union rep will be with me on thurs but my head is full of cotton wool this weather so not go a clue what gonna happen will I qualify foor any benifits I'm getting DLA and ESA at the moment because I don't get any wages any more. I'm not sure if I will qualify for anything once I am officially retired. If anyone has this happen to them will u let me no what happened to u thanks margaret xx


Hello Shaky Mama, that's tough news. But you have three avenues of help - your union rep, your local Citizen's Advice, and the PUK Helpline I'd really encourage you to make use of all three.

Best of luck


I took early retirement at 63 following 11 months on the sick. I wanted to go sooner by the pensions officer advised me to wait until the company sick pay ran out. Then all it needed was a letter from my GP to the works

pension administrators confirming that I have PD and I was granted an enhanced pension on the grounds of ill health. I took the maximum lump sum from my pension pot and invested it with the help of an independent financial advisor. I did of course have to wait until I was 65 before I could apply for my state pension. I was fortunate in belonging to a final salary pension scheme. Regrettably these are now being phased out.

Thanks for advice very helpful I'm meeting my union rep later thanks xx


You can  ask your gp  for an  unfit to  work  note  and  follow up with asking hr  to   send you to  company  doctors.


The idea that you should be on sick leave for 1yr before retiring on grounds of ill health is sensible. Most companies have a sickness benefit system that gives employees 6months full pay followed by 6months half pay. These benefits are often more than any pension will pay. Also whilst you are on sick leave you are still accruing pension entitlement that will help increase your pension when you do get your ill-health retirement. 


  Following on from shaky mama and Hartfelt ........once you get onto sickness benefit  you can apply for ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).  ESA  will last until you stop work entirely.  There are two parts to the ESA one is means tested whilst the other is based on your NI contributions - and you can apply for either one or both depending on your circumstances.

It should be straight forward to estimates of any pensions you have and the difference between early retirement and medical early retirement.   With medical early retirement there is the potential that this will be enhanced to take you up to 65.   You can then  see if its better to be on sick leave or if the pension is better.

One thing I find disconcerting is that with my company and pension fund I am being asked for my GP's contact details so he can asked for his opinion on my PD.  My GP takes no interest in my PD symptoms and leaves all that side of my health care to my neurologist. I continue to include my consultant's contact and try and explain that it's better to talk with him rather than my GP. 

In a recent report sent by my GP to my company.s medical advisors the GP wrote that if they wanted any more information about PD they should contact one of my GP's  colleagues !  No mention was made of my neurologist in whom I have total confidence and has seem me regularly for the last 8 years



Can anyone advise, I'm 47 I'm struggling more on somedays now and I don't get going until midday. Then I tend to get sleepy after lunch! Is it best to keep going as long as I can! If I had to finish what would it mean financially . I was ready to go the hog in terms of years but I don't think I can. What does it mean to my fsp final sal pension. 





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I carried on working for 7 years after diagnosis..  When I eventually went to my GP he did not question me but signed me off for a month and said he was surprised I continued working so long.  Currently (10 months later) I am on a 3 month sick note.  My consultant was also very supportive  and said it was an individuall choice and would support the decision I made.

I found that I needed to take my first Stalevo at about 5 am so I was "on" to catch the 6:54 train.  At lunch time I had already  grazed my lunch and used to nap in my chair.  I found that there were a number of people doing exactly the same.   I was determined to continue working in order to not let PD defeat me, but changed my mind after being interviewed for a part-time job and realising there is life outside the office. Now I wonder why I waited so long.  


You need to get a quote from your   pensions department if you have  fsp - or maybe an average sp,  I have found my pensions people are only to glad to help. I  get 2 estimates the early retirement and the medical early retirement.

Next is when  you can start drawing your pension, and is there an advantage in drawing  it early and late,   and  maybe  how attractive is taking part of your pension pot as cash.  I am personally putting money into AVCs which is tax free and which I intend to get back as cash when I draw my pension.

You also  need to have an idea of your expenditure month to month or year year. This will be useful in comparing your monthly spend vs monthly pension. Separately there is the rainy day money for unexpected and regular one off costs,   like new car or repairing damaged roof.

In my case my company gives me insurance for long term sickness called GIP.  This pays a % of my salary whilst I am off sick.   Otherwise being long term sick your pay will from to company sick pay and/or  statutory sick pay.  With GIP you can also claim ESA

Crunch those numbers !!




Thank you I will indeed look into. It is hard sometimes as human nature we expect to work to our pension age. I feel my battle is with my fight to continue to work well, but at what costs to health. However i do intend to do what I can for as long as I can. But don't we all. Just out of curiosity, if I had to finish in a normal working approach eg travel, 9 to 5 and I could do a role at home that worked around the challenges, eg sleep good times, bad times  I presume that would be the ideal situation, would that change things in terms of  retiring due to ill health. I'm trying to think of every avenue to maintain longevity in working. I realise things change and if I can see some options hopefully it will help me make the right decisions.


i steel feel too young to be talking about it but the reality of how things are is becoming more of a reality . I'm struggling a little but still feel in my head I can do the things as I used to, so my head his saying no problem get on with it. My body is saying something different, planning is a task in itself ... Hence why I think I should be looking into.


Thank you

That was my attitude as well,  but in the end my poor walking got the better of my commuting. 

I found my company did a lot to try and have me either work  from home or work part time.  I had an "electronic office" sent home so I could work, even going as far as organising  an ergometric assessment to ensure I had it all right.   As well as that I spoke with line manager /   HR & my director to see what could be identified as suitable for working from home or part time.  Company were focussed on part time office work and I found it a struggle to explain that it was commuting  that was the problem not sitting at a desk.

HR explained the procedure for long  term sickness  - GP note /   sickness entitlement at full pay,  at sick pay from  company,  and state statutory sick pay  /  GIP / Applying or ESA

Pension's people were excellent to and were happy to chat over the phone and send me details of the options open to me and what appeared the more attractive options  - such as taking  pension as soon as you stop work, deferring pension, withdrawing no cash or maximum cash from pension  pot. They also explained about the  pension trustees discretion in setting the medical early retirement pension more than the minimum entitlement.

I am sure that your situation will be the same  only different.  But I found only positive (if tardy) support for me  by everyone on the line management and support  groups.  It was my co-workers who were in some cases rather unsympathetic




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