Can I receive my benefits if I become ill?
Applications for early payment of benefits on ill health received by SPPA on behalf of a member with tapered protection, before the date in which they are due to join the 2015 scheme, will be considered under their current scheme rules. The member will not move to the new scheme on the transition date until the application process is complete or the member withdraws their application.
If you are under Normal Pension Age (NPA) and have to retire through ill-health, you can apply for Ill-Health benefits. Applications should only be submitted after all other avenues such as redeployment have been exhausted. You must provide medical evidence that your illness permanently prevents you from teaching. Ill-Health benefits can be paid at two different levels depending upon the severity of the illness; Partial Incapacity Benefits (PIB) and Total Incapacity Benefits (TIB).
Partial Incapacity Benefits would be granted if you are assessed as being permanently unable to teach but can undertake other employment. Members who qualify for PIB will receive a lower level of benefits consisting of service accrued to date of retirement with no enhancement.
Total Incapacity Benefits would be granted if, as well as being permanently unable to teach, you are assessed as having your ability to carry out any work impaired by more than 90% and likely permanently to be so. The total amount of enhancement you may receive if you are awarded TIB is half the service you could have completed before NPA.
If you are not in pensionable employment and you are not on sick leave or parental leave, only PIB can be granted if you apply for Ill-Health Retirement (IHR). Your service will not be enhanced but you must meet the criteria for TIB.
Ill-Health benefits cannot be awarded to a teacher who has been barred for misconduct or who is under investigation with a view to barring. Where a teacher under investigation is not subsequently barred, and an application for Ill-Health benefits is accepted, the benefits will be backdated.
You cannot normally obtain Ill-Health benefits if you have already been awarded premature retirement benefits. If you are seriously ill, your Ill-Health pension may be commuted to a lump sum payment. The request for commutation must be made at the time of application for Ill-Health benefits: a pension cannot be commuted once it has come into payment. Life expectancy must be less than a year. The lump sum payment amounts to approximately five times the annual pension.
If you have not been in service long enough to qualify for Ill-Health benefits you can apply for a Short-Service Incapacity Grant. You must have at least one year of pensionable employment to your credit. You must apply within 12 months of leaving reckonable service. The incapacity grant is 1/12 of your final pensionable salary for the length of your reckonable service (years and days).
How to apply for ill-health retirement (IHR) benefits
If you are still employed you should obtain the two forms required for your application from your employer. One form is for you to complete with your employer, the other is for the medical evidence to support your application.
If you are no longer employed as a teacher you can either download the forms from the Forms section on the website or contact SPPA directly, quoting your teacher’s reference number or National Insurance number.
Forms should be returned to SPPA either by your employer if you are employed, or by you if you are no longer employed. Employers and their Occupational Health Advisors must look at ways of helping you return to work, e.g. re-deployment, part-time working, transfer to a post with less responsibility or consider other workplace adjustments, before concluding that IHR may be appropriate. You and your employer’s Occupational Health Advisor in conjunction with your Medical Practitioner need to provide the medical evidence and complete the application forms. The cost of providing medical evidence is a matter between you and your employer.
If you left pensionable teaching within 12 months of submitting your application, the medical information sections of your application form must be completed by your ex-employer. If you are not currently employed in pensionable teaching employment you will have to pay for any costs incurred in providing medical evidence.