What is the criteria for ill-health retirement? Employment

If you have a health condition or disability that makes working difficult, you may be able to claim your pension before the age of 55 and retire early.

You will need to meet strict criteria plus receiving independent financial advice to make sure you can afford early retirement without running out of money.

Early Retirement Due to Ill Health Explained

Ill health retirement (sometimes referred to as ‘medically retired’) is when you are permitted to draw your pension before the age of 55 because of sickness, disability or another medical condition. Usually, it will be a condition that means you can no longer continue to work in your regular job or one that will seriously reduce your earning potential. Your pension scheme could also set its own criteria for conditions that would entitle you to draw your pension early.

Don’t forget you will have the right to ask your employer to make reasonable adjustments to make sure you are not disadvantaged at work because of a medical condition or disability. If these adjustments mean you can carry on working, you might not need to retire early. Some conditions won’t allow for such adjustments, so you will need to ask about taking your pension earlier than anticipated.

What conditions qualify for ill-health retirement?

While there are different definitions of ill health, different schemes have different rules and criteria for early retirement.

Generally, you will need to –

  • Establish that you are permanently incapable of continuing to do your job. This could be due to either a physical or mental condition.
  • Show no further treatments or medication available that could allow you to return to work before the normal pension age. This could apply to your current role or any alternative job.
  • Schemes will also consider whether you work full time or part-time, and could suggest working part-time as a solution.
  • Apply while you are in pensionable employment for maximum benefits. While this is not essential it is recommended.

Pension schemes are putting greater emphasis on rehabilitation and reasonable adjustments to enable someone to return to work. If your employers can facilitate your return to current duties, your application will not be likely to succeed. However, if your employer offers you an alternative role or reduced hours, you may still be able to apply for ill-health retirement from your original position.

Get in Touch for more information

If you are unsure of the criteria for ill-health retirement, please do not hesitate to contact Building Better Opportunities. We are a lottery-funded organisation dedicated to supporting individuals, couples and families in Stafford and South Staffordshire.