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Thread: Being retired due to ill health.. when to claim benefits?

  1. #1
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    Being retired due to ill health.. when to claim benefits?

    I am 33 and have a rare disease which effects the muscles in my body. I am very unstable walking and my muscles lock up after 20m of walking making it very difficult and painful to walk. The muscles in my arms also quickly fatigue making it difficult to use a computer for more than 10mins at a time. I am unable to leave the house alone as I quite often fall. Walking round the house I literally bounce of the walls due to my un-stableness. The disease is only going to get worse and there is no cure or medication that can really help that much. I have been off sick from work for the last 10 months and am no longer entitled to statutory sick pay but have still be receiving half pay. Due to my illness, my employer (a local authority) is retiring me due to my ill health. They have refused to pay me a full pension and instead I am getting £80 a month which I intend to appeal but this may take many months. My employment is due to terminate in the next few days and they are to pay me a months pay in lieu of notice and holiday pay. I already claim disability living allowance at the higher rate for both care and mobility.

    I have never claimed benefits in my life and so am a bit lost to what to do. I have found that I am entitled to full council tax relief but only about £15 a week ESA income based due to my wifes part time job. This is through the entitled to website. I am not sure how we are going to pay the mortgage on this low income and so want to claim benefits that I am entitled to as soon as possible in order to make my final salary and holiday pay go as far as possible.

    My question is when can I claim for benefits? Do I have to wait until my notice paid in lieu is up or can I claim as soon as my employment ceases? I also am not 100% sure exactly how much my pension will be but know it will be very low. Can I claim without knowing exactly how much this will be? My employer was suppose to be ceasing my employment before Christmas but quite frankly they are useless. Although it has worked for me as I have been paid half pay for a bit longer. Would I need to wait till I receive some kind of confirmation from work my employment has ended before claiming?

    I also do not understand contribution based ESA? Can I just claim ESA and they will automatically work out which I am entitled to? I have been paying National Insurance for the past 5 years as I have been working full time but the last 3 or 4 months it has been at a slightly lower rate due to my lower wages.

    Is there any other benefits that I should be looking at as well?

    Thank you in advance for anyones assitance on this.

  2. #2
    davewhit
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesJ View Post
    I am 33 and have a rare disease which effects the muscles in my body. I am very unstable walking and my muscles lock up after 20m of walking making it very difficult and painful to walk. The muscles in my arms also quickly fatigue making it difficult to use a computer for more than 10mins at a time. I am unable to leave the house alone as I quite often fall. Walking round the house I literally bounce of the walls due to my un-stableness. The disease is only going to get worse and there is no cure or medication that can really help that much. I have been off sick from work for the last 10 months and am no longer entitled to statutory sick pay but have still be receiving half pay. Due to my illness, my employer (a local authority) is retiring me due to my ill health. They have refused to pay me a full pension and instead I am getting £80 a month which I intend to appeal but this may take many months. My employment is due to terminate in the next few days and they are to pay me a months pay in lieu of notice and holiday pay. I already claim disability living allowance at the higher rate for both care and mobility.

    I have never claimed benefits in my life and so am a bit lost to what to do. I have found that I am entitled to full council tax relief but only about £15 a week ESA income based due to my wifes part time job. This is through the entitled to website. I am not sure how we are going to pay the mortgage on this low income and so want to claim benefits that I am entitled to as soon as possible in order to make my final salary and holiday pay go as far as possible.

    My question is when can I claim for benefits? Do I have to wait until my notice paid in lieu is up or can I claim as soon as my employment ceases? I also am not 100% sure exactly how much my pension will be but know it will be very low. Can I claim without knowing exactly how much this will be? My employer was suppose to be ceasing my employment before Christmas but quite frankly they are useless. Although it has worked for me as I have been paid half pay for a bit longer. Would I need to wait till I receive some kind of confirmation from work my employment has ended before claiming?

    I also do not understand contribution based ESA? Can I just claim ESA and they will automatically work out which I am entitled to? I have been paying National Insurance for the past 5 years as I have been working full time but the last 3 or 4 months it has been at a slightly lower rate due to my lower wages.

    Is there any other benefits that I should be looking at as well?

    Thank you in advance for anyones assitance on this.
    you need to get expert advise as to when to claim and what to claim. For example someone has told you, "will get full council tax benefits" well with changes coiming in thats down to 75% or 80% due to law changes coming in.

    You should also look at DLA is there a web site/charity to do with your illness ? thats a good place to see what others with your problem have done in the past good atrting place

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    You sound a bit like me! As you work for a LA you'll get half pay for up to 6 months then you can apply for CB ESA.

    You're obviously not eligible for a Tier 1 Pension so Occupational Therapists will recommend either Tier 2 or Tier 3.

    OT may have done a paper review of your condition which is sent to HR. Then they will appoint an independent doctor to clarify your health condition. This information is passed to Treasurers who them work out your pension options.

    http://www.gmpf.org.uk/retiring/on_ill_health.htm

    Rather than me rambling on second guessing where you're up to feel free to ask specific questions and I'll walk you through the procedure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    You sound a bit like me! As you work for a LA you'll get half pay for up to 6 months then you can apply for CB ESA.

    You're obviously not eligible for a Tier 1 Pension so Occupational Therapists will recommend either Tier 2 or Tier 3.

    OT may have done a paper review of your condition which is sent to HR. Then they will appoint an independent doctor to clarify your health condition. This information is passed to Treasurers who them work out your pension options.

    http://www.gmpf.org.uk/retiring/on_ill_health.htm

    Rather than me rambling on second guessing where you're up to feel free to ask specific questions and I'll walk you through the procedure.
    I have been told that the LA are only willing to offer me tier 3 as I have not been actually diagnosed. My neurologist says he is working towards a diagnosis but unwilling to officially diagnose me at the moment. I am not sure if he thinks I am going to wake up one morning fully cured?! I have seen my employers doctor who agreed with me to my face that I couldn't work and has produced a report saying I can not work at the moment. He has not said anything about my future ability to work but has put forward Level 3 (although on the form he ticked Level 2 and then crossed it out).

    So now I am going to be retired due to my ill health and my employment is to be terminated in the next few days. They have said they don't need to give me a pension because I am on a temporary contract (although been employed for them for 5 years with no break) and I should be grateful for level 3. I intend to appeal this as I am not going to get any better any worse so if I can not work now I don't see how I will be able to do so full time in the future. I believe I should be retired on Level 1 but can understand at a fairly young age why my employer is doing everything it can to get out of doing this.

    I am hoping to get assistance from our local council who have a specialist who can assit and advise with these matters but it will not be for a month or so till I get an appointment.

    Thank you both for your help.

  5. #5
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Are you in a union? If you are you need to contact them as they will fight your corner for you.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Tier 3 ill health retirement means that they expect you to be able to carry out 'gainful employment' - that means over 30 hours a week. They acknowledge that you aren't fit to work now but will be in the next three years. They will give you a lump sum and a small pension. You will be asked for a review in 18 months and any pension payments may stop from 18 months to a max of 36 months.

    You say that they 'don't need to give you a pension' because you're on a temporary contract that has gone on for 5 years.

    There are two types of temporary contract -
    1 Through an agency -
    2 The Council employed you direct on a short term contract which they have probably forgotten to renew.

    The chances are you were employed direct. HR only now realise that you have been employed illegally. The reason being if you have been employed by the Council for longer than two years then they should have offered you a full time contract or ended your contract.

    I can tell you now that it's highly unlikely that they'll retire you on Tier 1. If you still have use of one finger that's all they need to say you can still work in the future.

    Once you've been retired from the Public Sector there are rules against you gaining any employment by the LA in the future even as a temp.

    Alternatively, if I were you . . .

    As you will find it very difficult to find gainful employment in the future have you considered going back part-time. And if you self-referred to Access to Work they could come up with some imaginative solutions to barriers at work. For example - voice activation software, a PA, help to get into work.

    Be wary about expecting any assistant from the state in the form of benefits. The chances are you may only qualify for top up National Insurance Credits towards your State Pension when your 68 or older.

  7. #7
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    esa

    Hi James - you need to claim ESA tomorrow. You should have claimed it the day after your SSP ran out. Despite the fact you were on half pay would have made no difference, you would still have been entitled to assessment rate ESA. Please, please get a benefit check as soon as possible.
    There are two groups in employment support allowance - WRAG or Support group. If you are put in the support group, your wife's salary or £80 from your ex employer will not affect your ESA payment. If you go into the WRAG group and you have a wife/partner working you may only get the benefit for one year. You need to read up everything on the DWP and benefits. Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    You can't take it with you!

    Well obviously as stated before I don't receive benefits due to getting a private pension - ten years before I get a state pension. Well I decided to throw caution to the wind and spend some savings - well you only live once. I had my 20 year old kitchen ripped out and skipped. Now I must have the most modern kitchen in my street! Got all mod cons including LED lighting and an induction hob - as good as gas but quicker and safer - boils a pan of water in 100 seconds - but the glass plate below the pan is mildly warm - spooky.

    Health has been drained with all the work going on - more to follow Tues to Friday.

    And again - my American based friend has invited me to watch Man United's last home match next Sunday - there's a group of us going - I'm the only spanner in the works - sorry I mean disabled person going but at least we get accessible seating.

    Sounds great doesn't it - the only down side is this very painful back 24/7 - geez - it's like trying to walk with a 6 inch knife rammed under the back of my rib cage - pain killers don't help. We all have our crosses to bare I guess = good job I'm a positive thinker!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by anniea View Post
    Hi James - you need to claim ESA tomorrow. You should have claimed it the day after your SSP ran out. Despite the fact you were on half pay would have made no difference, you would still have been entitled to assessment rate ESA. Please, please get a benefit check as soon as possible.
    There are two groups in employment support allowance - WRAG or Support group. If you are put in the support group, your wife's salary or £80 from your ex employer will not affect your ESA payment. If you go into the WRAG group and you have a wife/partner working you may only get the benefit for one year. You need to read up everything on the DWP and benefits. Hope this helps.
    Take annies advice. You have payed full NI contributions for almost 5 years so should get contribution based ESA straight away. Then it will be several weeks before you are assessed for either the Support Group or Work Related Activity group of ESA, so don't worry about that just yet.
    Unfortunately there won't be any help with your mortgage as things stand, so if the payments are becoming a problem it is best to approach your mortgage lender before you get into arrears.
    You are on DLA high rate care. This means that if she wished, your wife could claim Carers Allowance for looking after you. She could still do some part time work while claiming CA, but a Benefit Check would show whether you might be better off as a family if she gave up work and claimed the CA. Given your high rate of DLA, plus her CA, you might find that you could be entitled to some income based topup. If so that would give you maximum Council Tax benefit, and also perhaps some help with the mortgage.
    If there are just the two of you, and if you only had your pension income, CA, and conts based ESA (DLA isn't counted as income) that is certainly worth looking at.

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