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Husband Pension denied - after husband sacked 10 years ago - nowhere to turn


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I was hoping that you will be able to advise as my husband has suffered from a Psychiatric Injury since 2001.

 

Thompsons advised in Jan 2002 that there was no claim for stress related injury and issued Tribunal claims and then withdrew their service.

 

in August 2002, The Union appointed a new firm of solicitors - Who then amended the claims at Tribunal and withdrew most of the claims against the Employer, leaving just the basis claims of Unfair dismissal .

 

In 2003, They did not provide medical evidence to the Tribunal - therefore the Tribunal dismissed the some of the claims including failure to address the illness etc.

 

The remaining claims were then heard by the Tribunal, without the assistance of the solicitors as they withdrew their services after the above claims were dismissed.

 

In March 2005, I attended the Tribunal for 3 days without any legal assistance and tried to defend the claims, but as the issues were already limited to what had been agreed by the previous solicitors and the Employers solicitors, I was unable to resurrect the claims.

 

However after the 3 days the ET, found that the Dismissal was fair, despite the fact that the employer caused the illness, he has been on Benefits since that period, and in 2006 was awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit, and has been told he suffers from PTSD as a result of a accident on 11/01/2001, which the solicitors were advised of in 2004, but again this was neglected by them.

 

I am at my wits end in trying to look after him as well as 3 children and just do not know where to turn to, your help will be appreciated and if the matter could be taken up on a No Win No fee basis I would be prepared to send all the details to you and confirmation signed by my husband for release of his files from Thompsons Solicitors and also from the other ones in Birmingham which were used by the Union.

 

The Union also promised to look into the Personal Injury claim and advise on the negligence of the solicitors 3 years ago, since that time they have not done anything and we just don't know where to turn.

 

I hope you can provide some help as we are lost in this legal confusion and it seems that the solicitors have all acted in bad faith in my husbands claims.

 

My husband is still under a Psychiatrist and is receiving medical treatment since that time.

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  • 1 year later...

PLEASE CAN SOMEONE ADVISE ME AS I AM AT A LOSS, I HAVE SENT THE E-MAIL TO THE OMBUDSMAN BELOW

MY HUSBAND'S EPLOYMENT WAS TERMINATED IN 2001, DUE TO ILL HEALTH AND BULLYING (THE UNION DID NOT HELP) THE CLAIM WENT TO TRIBUNAL FOR UNFAIR DISMISSAL, BUT AS MY HUSBAND COULD NOT GIVE EVIDENCE, AND NO SUPPORT FROM THE UNIONS SOLICITORS, WE LOST THE CLAIM.

TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE THE HR DEPARTMENT REFUSED A PENSION ON ILL HEALTH GROUNDS, BUT DISMISSED MY HUSBAND - THE TWO MANAGERS WHO WERE COMPAINED ABOUT DEALT WITH EVERYTHING - THE INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AGAINST THEM, THE PENSION ENTITLEMENT/REFUSAL AND THE APPEALS - HOWEVER WE LOST AT TRIBUNAL AS WE HAD NO REPRESENTATION - I AM SURE MY HUSBAND SHOULD RECIEVE A ILL HEALTH PENSION - BUT THIS IS DENIED

ALL HELP APPRECIATED -

Dear Sir/madam

I am writing to confirm if we can re-open this complaint as my husbands condition remains much the same as it was in 2001 when he was dismissed due to ill health from work, at XXXXXXXX, where he was a member of the (XXXXXXXXXX Pension Scheme), which allowed for a ill health pension should one be ill for the "foreseeable future", however this definition was disputed as being "permanent" by the employer a pension was refused as they stated permanence was not proved and the matter went to appeal assisted by the OPAS, we never reached a satisfactory conclusion, the management refused to consider the pension on this basis.

Through the OPAS the matter went to the Ombudsman and a investigator indicated the the word "foreseeable" meant permanent, we did not take this further through the stages to the Ombudsman for a final decision as the investigator failed to inform us that we had a right to have a final decision by the Ombudsman, we therefore were not aware that no final decision had not been made by the Ombudsman. Last week we were informed that no Final decision could have been made as it had not been to the Ombudsman, but only a investigator who decided to agree with the employer, we believe now that his definition was incorrect and he had made a error on the conclusion he made.

We wish to ask OPAS to assist us to take this matter to the Ombudsman for a final decision based on the facts to date.

The medical diagnosis which was made in 2001/2002, was incorrect, and not depression, we have now been informed the condition is chronic and my husband suffers from Schizoaffective disorder and PTSD, with chronic symptoms, he has been this way for the last 10 years and I believe that the permanency of his illness is now proven as being consistent with the term foreseeable and permanent, I have nowhere to turn to and need the help of the OPAS and the ombudsman to help my husband to receive a pension he is entitled to.

I would be grateful for a response by return together with copies of the documents which the OPAS and the Ombudsman has on file so that this matter can be progressed to a final conclusion to a Ombudsman with medical evidence based on the last 10 years when a pension has been denied and we have suffered hardship and financial difficulty as a result. As I have stated I had thought the investigators findings was a final decision and did not fully understand this fact until last week.

Kind regards

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Hello there, what a tough time for you. It sounds as if OPAS and the ombudsman is probably the way to go. They don't have any time bars, I take it? Their website should have something on that.

 

What correspondence do you have from last time please? And could you also tell us how far your husband is from retirement age?

 

I've never dealt with the pensions ombudsman, but I would hope you have a good case for looking at this again because of the changed diagnosis. I also don't know if that particular ombudsman can award 'damages' against the scheme for not paying, but they should be able to get what you're entitled to if you have a good case. The decision could have been right at the time, depending how you see it, because they couldn't read the future.

 

Can you also tell us how long it is since you had the revised diagnosis? And do you have letters from whoever diagnosed your OH?

 

Also, what type of scheme it is - final salary, insured scheme, etc?

 

Sorry for the initial questions. The guys may have more depending on their specialities, so I hope you won't mind telling us a bit more. I really hope we can help you.

 

My best to you both, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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A further thought. Have you been in touch with the company since your OH had the new diagnosis? You may find the ombudsman's people ask you that.

 

And another thought. Depending on the scheme, I would expect the trustees of the scheme to be looking at this sort of thing if asked. Or are the trustees and the management the same people? Even so, they shouldn't have conflicts of interest.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi Honeybee thanks for your help I have detailed my response into your reply - hope this helps

 

Hello there, what a tough time for you. It sounds as if OPAS and the ombudsman is probably the way to go. They don't have any time bars, I take it? Their website should have something on that. the OPAS AND THE OMBUDSMAN HAVE LOOKED AT THIS - OPAS OPINION WAS PENSION SHOULD BE AWARDED - A INVESTIGATOR AT THE OMBUDSMAN - DISAGREED, HE NEVER EVEN LOOKED AT THE FACT THAT MY HUSBAND WAS DENIED A PENSION BY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO DISMISSED HIM - ON THE BACK OF A CONCLUSION, MADE BY THEIR OWN OH DOCTOR, THEY WANTED THE CONDITION TO BE PERMANENT, WHEN THE PENSION BOOKLET STATED FOR "THE FORSEABLE FUTURE" - I AM NOT SURE ABOUT TIME LIMITS AS THIS HAS BEEN TO THE OMBUDSMAN BUT NO FINAL DECISION WAS MADE IN 2005, IT WAS A INVESTIGATOR AT THE OMBUDSMAN WHO DECIDED, IN THE EMPLOYERS FAVOUR - INDICATING THAT "FORSEEABLE WOULD BE "PERMANENT"

What correspondence do you have from last time please? And could you also tell us how far your husband is from retirement age? I HAVE ASKED FOR THIS INFORMATION FROM OPAS, THE LAST DIALOGUE WAS IN 2005, AS I HAD ASSUMED THAT A FINAL DECISION HAD BEEN MADE, BUT AFTER SPEAKING TO THE WELFARE OFFICER IN OUR TOWN HE ADVISED THAT IT IS ONLY BINDING IF MADE BY A OMBUDSMAN - MY HUSBAND IS NOW 45, FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS HE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO RETURN TO ANY EMPLOYMENT.

 

I've never dealt with the pensions ombudsman, but I would hope you have a good case for looking at this again because of the changed diagnosis. I also don't know if that particular ombudsman can award 'damages' against the scheme for not paying, but they should be able to get what you're entitled to if you have a good case. The decision could have been right at the time, depending how you see it, because they couldn't read the future.

 

Can you also tell us how long it is since you had the revised diagnosis? And do you have letters from whoever diagnosed your OH? HIS CONSULTANT PSYCHIATRIST, WHOM HE SEES EVERY 3 MONTHS, ADVISED US IN 2009 THAT HIS DIAGNOSIS WAS PTSD AND SCHIZOAFFECTIVE DISORDER AND THIS WAS NOT JUST A CASE OF DEPRESSION AS ADVISED WHEN HE WAS DISMISSED - THE DISMISSAL MEDICAL REPORT HAD CONCLUDED THAT MY HUSBANDS MEDICAL CONDITION WAS INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO HIS EMPLOYMENT AT WORK - THE EMPLOYER THEN PROCEEDED TO DISMISS HIM - THE TWO HR MANAGERS ORIGINALY DEALT WITH HIS COMPLAINTS ABOUT PROBLEMS - THEN BLAMED HIM FOR HIS ILLNESS, AND DENIED A PENSION, THEY THEN GOT A BIG FIRM OF SOLICITORS FROM LONDON TO DESTROY THE CLAIM - WE HAD NO CHANCE AT THE TRIBUNAL.

 

Also, what type of scheme it is - final salary, insured scheme, etc?

 

IT WAS FINAL SALARY, IT INDICATED IN THE PENSIONS BOOKLET " IF A EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO RETURN TO WORK FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE IN THE OPINION OF THE EMPLOYER. HE/SHE WILL BE ENTITLED TO ILL HEALTH PENSION AS CALCULATED" AT THAT TIME THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN £9300 PER ANNUM, HE RECEIVED NOTHING, THEY WERE MAKING PEOPLE REDUNDANT AT THAT TIME, THEY ALSO REFUSED TO MAKE HIM REDUNDANT AS HE HAD COMPLAINED ABOUT THEM........................WHAT JUSTICE IS THERE!!

 

Sorry for the initial questions. The guys may have more depending on their specialities, so I hope you won't mind telling us a bit more. I really hope we can help you.

 

I HOPE THAT THIS INFORMATION ASSISTS AS HE HAS BEEN ON INCAPACITY BENEFIT AND INJUSTRIAL INJURIES (DUE TO THE INJURY HE SUSTAINED AT WORK -PSYCHOLOGICAL PTSD) FOR WHICH THEY DISMISSED HIM WITHOUT ANY HELP AT ALL, AT THAT TIME THE CONVENOR AND THE LOCAL UNION OFFICIAL AND THE UNION SOLICITORS ALL COLUDED TO DENY ANY CLAIM OR REPRESENTATION.................ITS ALL A JOKE

My best to you both, HB

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Please see below

 

A further thought. Have you been in touch with the company since your OH had the new diagnosis? You may find the ombudsman's people ask you that. THE COMPANY ARE STILL THE SAME, THE MANAGEMENT STILL THE SAME...................THE TRUSTEES HAVE HIDDEN BEHIND THE FACT THAT ONLY THE EMPLOYER HAS THE AUTHORITY TO AWARD A PENSION, THIS POSITION HAS REMAINED SINCE 2005, WE HAVE NOT SENT THE MOST RECENT DIAGNOSIS AS THEY HAVE STATED THAT THE CONDITION MUST HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED "PERMANENT" AT THE TIME IF DISMISSAL AND NOT AFTER - SO THEY ARE NOT PREPARED TO LOOK INTO THIS, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE MANAGERS WERE BOTH BIASED AND ALSO DENYING/VICTIMISING MY HUSBAND FOR RAISING COMPLAINTS.........................................OPAS AGREED WITH US BUT THE INVESTIGATOR AT THE OMBUDSMAN STATED "THIS WAS IRRELEVANT"

 

 

And another thought. Depending on the scheme, I would expect the trustees of the scheme to be looking at this sort of thing if asked. Or are the trustees and the management the same people? Even so, they shouldn't have conflicts of interest.

 

THEY ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE EMPLOYERS - BUT HIDE BEHIND THE FACT THAT THIS DECISION NOTO TO AWARD A PENSION CAN ONLY BE REVIEWED AND CHANGED BY THE MANAGEMENT - SO THERE IS NO INDEPENDENT REVIEW AND THIS JUST MAKES ME MORE ANGRY AS THEY REFUSE TO DEAL WITH THE MATTER....................CONTACTED THEM LAST IN 2005................WHEN OPAS STATED THEY SHOULD AWARD A PENSION - BUT THEY REFUSED AND THEN THE OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATOR AGREED WITH THE EMPLOYER AND NOT ME OR OPAS...........SO HERE WE ARE AGAIN

HB

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Hi Intree.... what a dreadful time you have had. All the best to your husband and yourself.

 

I take it, it has been tough financially for you. As the psychiatrist has linked your husband's condition to a work scenario I was wondering if you had asked the DWP at any stage for a declaration that it was an Industrial Injury? These type of 'injuries' are not liked by the DWP but if the evidence is there they will declare it an industrial injury. I have more to say but will wait for your reply.

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Hi Papasmurf - yes it has been a very difficult time, I did make a claim for IIDB in 2004, when we were made aware by the Welfare officer, after 2 years of trying they accepted the PTSD as a injury linked to the employment, but with a lot of resistence from the DWP as the employer (the managers in HR) stated that my husband was not injured at work and there was no record, - only after deep counselling and later being treated albeit, without success he was declared with Depression - and PTSD in 2006 - which has now been confirmed as PTSD and Schizoaffective disorder, both by the DWP Psychiatrist and the consultant he has been seeing since 2005.....................they have linked the illness to the bullying and a specific incident - declared as a accident in 2006.

 

It has been the worst time of our lives and he has had to give up all his friends and social life..............he is not the man he was once, I have tried my best to fight this and have had to also deal with his debts and problems as a result of his illness - this website has helped me more than any solicitor or Union - I have been at my wits end.........

 

I can confirm the benefits he is on are IIDB and incapacity benefit and also DLA, but this is no consolation in that I have had to fight for this and the IIDB is up for review agaiin in 2 years, and DLA is awarded for indefinate but the lowest rates..............BUT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON A PENSION AND NOT ON BENEFITS............this is why I can not understand what they are doing at the Ombudsman??

 

Hi Intree.... what a dreadful time you have had. All the best to your husband and yourself.

 

I take it, it has been tough financially for you. As the psychiatrist has linked your husband's condition to a work scenario I was wondering if you had asked the DWP at any stage for a declaration that it was an Industrial Injury? These type of 'injuries' are not liked by the DWP but if the evidence is there they will declare it an industrial injury. I have more to say but will wait for your reply.

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Hi Intree ............... I do realise that you are concerned with the pension aspect. I don't have any experience of ombudsman. Your original post did not mention the other aspects hence my post to you. Many poster's write about on problem and there are others they are unaware of.

 

Hopefully we will bump this up until this topic is picked up by cagger's that do have the knowledge.

 

If it is any help I think your tenacity will get you through if at all possible. Your evidence based approach is difficult for bureaucrats to deal with.

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Hello again. I'm a little confused about when you were absolutely sure about your husband's diagnosis. One of the reasons I asked about the timing is that I think you might have the ability to go back once the diagnosis changes. I really need someone else to comment about whether you're in time to re-open an employment complaint.

 

Regarding the pension, I'm pretty sure that the the employer shouldn't decide and that the Trustees of the pension scheme should. Of course not every company follows what are actually legal procedures. Do you have anything in writing about this? If needs be, I can try to ask a mate who deals with this sort of thing from time to time, but I would expect the scheme rules to state exactly what should happen. Hiding behind perceived procedures isn't good enough, it should all be in writing.

 

Please repost when you can. HB x

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi Honeybee I will try and explain:

 

Hello again. I'm a little confused about when you were absolutely sure about your husband's diagnosis. One of the reasons I asked about the timing is that I think you might have the ability to go back once the diagnosis changes. I really need someone else to comment about whether you're in time to re-open an employment complaint.

 

ok ; we moved from our old house in 2005, just to get out of the area and assist my husbands condition as there were people who worked with him (who all turned against him, once he complained of his treatment) it was then that a new Psychiatrist took over my husbands care in a different area, at around 2006, the Industrial Injuries Tribunal accepted that he has had a accident at work, it was later in that year that he was confirmed as suffering from PTSD.. in 2007 the Psychiatrist also diagnosed Chronic PTSD, with Schizoaffective Disorder which was becoming chronic too.

I saw a medical report from the Psychiatrist to the GP in 2009, in which for the 1st time I realised that the whole mess was due to his work accident (which the employer denied ever happened at all) the position is made somewhat more complicated as throughout the last number of years my husband talked very little about things and when he did, was even more ill afterwards..........hence my problem of trying to fight his claims for him!!

 

Regarding the pension, I'm pretty sure that the the employer shouldn't decide and that the Trustees of the pension scheme should. Of course not every company follows what are actually legal procedures. Do you have anything in writing about this? If needs be, I can try to ask a mate who deals with this sort of thing from time to time, but I would expect the scheme rules to state exactly what should happen. Hiding behind perceived procedures isn't good enough, it should all be in writing.

 

I have all sent all the pensions details to the OPAS they confirmed that a pension should have been paid and their recommendation to the employer was to pay the pension and review it every 5 years and see if the condition does improve, at which time they could have stopped the pension --- the same managers then stated that they were not to bend the scheme rules (even though they lied and lied, through a firm of solicitors from London), and that be satisfied has to be "permanently incapacitated to do any kind of work for any employer" not as stated in pension booklet (which they stated was a misprint - and the rules overide this to permanent) "unable to return to employment for the forseeable future" in the employers opinion.

what made it worse is that we were advised by OPAS that they should pay a pension - they refused, we took it to the pensions ombudsman, a investigator dealt with it, concluded that they had followed procedure and made a appropriate decision based on the medical report in front of them and which was further concluded, as such in 2004, when the old Psychiatrist could not confirm "Permanency" but did confirm forseeable future....

I am at the moment trying to resurrect the argument with the OPAS and THE PO, as I had abandoned the issues due to the stress and distress this was causing my husband, after speaking to another welfare officer (who is unable to assist as he is from another area and a friend of my brother) who advised that if no formal decision from a Ombudsman was made we can go back to them, that is the state I am in now, but I need advice as I do not want to drop any clangers as this may be the last stage of any procedure I can go forward on.

Thanks

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Hello and thank you for the extra information. I will stick with the pension stuff and leave the other bits for the guys, although I would hope that your realising the actual diagnosis so recently might act in your favour.

 

As regards the rules for paying an ill-health pension, they may or may not be right about the scheme booklet, although I'd have thought if you were given wrong information that doesn't look good. Is there any way you can get hold of the scheme rules from the original Trust deed setting up or amending the scheme? I'd have thought that was what decisions should be based on. You may need to ask for this if you don't have it, or if they don't want to send it, you may need to send a SAR [subject access request].

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks HB

 

I did receive all the trust deeds and rules and these were sent to the pensions ombudsman, they stated that the rules overide the booklet and that the error was not relevant - well my husband has been denied a pension - so I would have thought it relevant.

 

I am trying to re-open this with the OPAS and PO but dont know how far it will get, as I dont know if a decision made by a investigator is a final decision as a determination, if so I am stuck!!

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Hello again. Did you keep a copy of the Deed and Rules? This is what will determine any decision and the wording is crucial to your case.

 

Have you contacted the old employer's scheme trustees recently? I know you hate the company, but I still think OPAS/ombudsman may ask you this and there's nothing to stop the Trustees making a different decision in the light of events, as far as I know. Don't go through HR or management, write directly to the chairman or secretary of the Trustees, whose contact details should be in the employee booklet and tell them you'd like them to reconsider an ill-health pension.

 

Am I right in thinking that your OH is unable to work because of his PTSD? I don't think you've said whether you have a written diagnosis, from a psychiatrist for example, that says he is unlikely to work again. Could you tell me what they've told you please?

 

The ombudsman website isn't very helpful, I know. I had a feeling that it was up to OPAS to refer it to the ombudsman, but I didn't find that on the website when I looked. I still think you should get back in touch with the old employer while you're waiting for OPAS et al, because you may need to show you've gone through the process for another appeal to the ombudsman.

 

Please tell me more if you can.

 

HB x

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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thanks hb

 

hello again. Did you keep a copy of the deed and rules? This is what will determine any decision and the wording is crucial to your case. rules state "permanent" hence their opinion that the booklet was error to state forseeable!!

 

have you contacted the old employer's scheme trustees recently? I know you hate the company, but i still think opas/ombudsman may ask you this and there's nothing to stop the trustees making a different decision in the light of events, as far as i know. Don't go through hr or management, write directly to the chairman or secretary of the trustees, whose contact details should be in the employee booklet and tell them you'd like them to reconsider an ill-health pension.

 

i have not contacted them as yet as i did not know which way to go, but i understand the ultimate decision lasts with the hr team (employer) at his old workplace - they would get to review the report and do as they did before

 

am i right in thinking that your oh is unable to work because of his ptsd? I don't think you've said whether you have a written diagnosis, from a psychiatrist for example, that says he is unlikely to work again. Could you tell me what they've told you please?

 

the dignosis is ptsd -chronic and schizoaffective disorder.......i saw this in a letter to the gp, the consultant psychiatrist has tried all kinds of medication and my husband is currently taking 4 for his illness and sleeping tablets since 2001.

 

the psychiatrist has stated that this disorder is quite difficult to treat, he has stated that the work he used to do would be impossible to do.

 

at this stage i have not approached the psychiatrist for a definate answer as the diagnosis has changed from before - which was severe depression.

 

the ombudsman website isn't very helpful, i know. I had a feeling that it was up to opas to refer it to the ombudsman, but i didn't find that on the website when i looked. I still think you should get back in touch with the old employer while you're waiting for opas et al, because you may need to show you've gone through the process for another appeal to the ombudsman.

 

thank you, i am considering doing that - ill maybe write to the trustees asking for a review as he is still ill 10 years after his dismissal due to ill health.

 

please tell me more if you can.

 

hope this is helpful for you to respond - thanks

 

hb x

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Me again. I've copied and pasted what you said and will put my new replies in blue. I'm sorry if some of it isn't how you understand pension schemes to work.

 

hello again. Did you keep a copy of the deed and rules? This is what will determine any decision and the wording is crucial to your case. rules state "permanent" hence their opinion that the booklet was error to state forseeable!!

 

I think the rules are probably right. A pension scheme will normally pay an ill-health to someone who is not going to work again, eg terminally ill or disabled. Hence their word 'permanent' It sounds as if the booklet may well be misleading, but all decisions should be made with reference to the scheme rules.

 

have you contacted the old employer's scheme trustees recently? I know you hate the company, but i still think opas/Ombudsmanlink3.gif may ask you this and there's nothing to stop the trustees making a different decision in the light of events, as far as i know. Don't go through hr or management, write directly to the chairman or secretary of the trustees, whose contact details should be in the employee booklet and tell them you'd like them to reconsider an ill-health pension.

 

i have not contacted them as yet as i did not know which way to go, but i understand the ultimate decision lasts with the hr team (employer) at his old workplace - they would get to review the report and do as they did before

 

As I said before, I really, really don't think the decision lies with HR. They may advise the Trustees, but even then that would normally be the role of the secretary to the Trustees. Please believe me, it's the Trustees who should decide. If HR are interfering, I think they're beyond their remit. I will double check this when I can. Does the scheme booklet state how decisions are reached about ill-health retirement at all?

 

am i right in thinking that your oh is unable to work because of his ptsd? I don't think you've said whether you have a written diagnosis, from a psychiatrist for example, that says he is unlikely to work again. Could you tell me what they've told you please?

 

the dignosis is ptsd -chronic and schizoaffective disorder.......i saw this in a letter to the gp, the consultant psychiatrist has tried all kinds of medication and my husband is currently taking 4 for his illness and sleeping tablets since 2001.

 

the psychiatrist has stated that this disorder is quite difficult to treat, he has stated that the work he used to do would be impossible to do.

 

If your OH can't do the work he used to, that may not qualify as a permanent inablility to work under the pension scheme rules. Don't confuse an early/ill-health pension with an insurance policy [permanent disablity, income protection etc] which may pay someone who can't perform their normal role.

 

at this stage i have not approached the psychiatrist for a definate answer as the diagnosis has changed from before - which was severe depression.

 

Severe depression in itself isn't enough to get an ill-health pension in my opinion, sorry, unless it's expected to last until 'normal retirement age'.

 

If you're going to get someone to state that your OH will never work again, I'd have thought it would be the psychiatrist. My concern is that if your OH got the right medication and treatment, he would be able to work one day. And that works against what you're trying to claim from the ex-employer's pension scheme.

 

the Ombudsmanlink3.gif website isn't very helpful, i know. I had a feeling that it was up to opas to refer it to the Ombudsmanlink3.gif, but i didn't find that on the website when i looked. I still think you should get back in touch with the old employer while you're waiting for opas et al, because you may need to show you've gone through the process for another appeal to the ombudsman.

 

thank you, i am considering doing that - ill maybe write to the trustees asking for a review as he is still ill 10 years after his dismissallink3.gif due to ill health.

 

OK, but bear in mind what I said earlier about short[ish] term and long term ill-health not being the same thing for a pension scheme. I've asked before, but how long does your OH have to go before he reaches the normal retirement age for the scheme, please? This could be relevant.

 

Are you saying the employer made your OH ill? I don't know if you can pursue this after this length of time. Maybe someone else does?

 

please tell me more if you can.

 

hope this is helpful for you to respond - thanks

 

Hi guys. During this marathon on pension scheme rules, you may have switched off or fallen asleep and I understand! But please could you comment on pursuing the employer for making the OP's husband ill and the length of time until diagnosis? I think I've understood that it's still a concern.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

I know someone whose employment was terminated as a result of ill health, to cut a long story - he was dismissed and has been ill ever since and under the care of mental health, however he was denied a pension as the employer stated the incapacity was not permanent, despite being confirmed as such, but they ignored the reports.

 

some years on I now have the pension scheme rules, this confirms that :

 

Permanent incapacity:

 

  1. A member who has completed 2 years service and retires owing in his employers opinion, to permanent incapacity in mind or body,may in lieu of any other pension elect to receive a immediate pension under this rule.

If a pensioner has retired under 1 above and returns to service or gainful employment, the trustees shall have the right to review the pension and make adjustments which seem fair to the trustees.

 

SERVICE is defined as working for a Employer who is a member of the scheme, gainful employment is undefined...

 

My question is - would it be possible to argue that the employment has been terminated due to ill health and as a result under the rules this means retirement from service.

 

THE EMPLOYER STATED THAT although he was unemployable by them he could do work elsewhere as a result they denied a pension, we have approached the Trustees, and the Scheme manager has indicated there is no appeal as the decision was in the opinion of the EMPLOYER - they have continued this stance for the last 8 years...........

 

I would be grateful for advice as the person concerned has never been employed since his dismissal and also has been under the care of a psychiatrist since 2002

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Sorry, but not having been employed since is not the same thing as unemployable. So at least technically the employer appears to have conformed with the rules of the scheme, and any further action would have to be upon the advice of a pensions specialist lawyer. I believe there is an ombudsman for pension schemes, but this isn't an area of law I deal with - although google should turn up an answer.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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Hello there. I understand a reasonable amount about pensions, but had training on final salary/occupational schemes rather than dealing with them. I'll add a couple of questions to what you've said. I tend to agree with SarEl though from her legal standpoint.

 

I know someone whose employment was terminated as a result of ill health, to cut a long story - he was dismissed and has been ill ever since and under the care of mental health, however he was denied a pension as the employer stated the incapacity was not permanent, despite being confirmed as such, but they ignored the reports.

 

Who confirmed that your friend would never work again and what reports did the employer see please?

 

some years on I now have the pension scheme rules, this confirms that :

 

What type of pension scheme are we talking about?

 

Permanent incapacity:

 

 

  1. A member who has completed 2 years service and retires owing in his employers opinion, to permanent incapacity in mind or body,may in lieu of any other pension elect to receive a immediate pension under this rule.
     
    So this person has 2 years' or more service. But they didn't leave to take retirement, they were dismissed? And it says that the employer is the final arbiter by the looks of it.
     

If a pensioner has retired under 1 above and returns to service or gainful employment, the trustees shall have the right to review the pension and make adjustments which seem fair to the trustees.

 

That sounds like normal practice.

 

SERVICE is defined as working for a Employer who is a member of the scheme, gainful employment is undefined...

 

I'd say that means any job the person is capable of doing, mentally or physically. And for an employer in the same pension scheme. It's a group of companies, is it?

 

My question is - would it be possible to argue that the employment has been terminated due to ill health and as a result under the rules this means retirement from service.

 

I'm not sure that's how I read it, but you may need a pensions lawyer [not cheap] or a second opinion like OPAS or the ombudsman.

 

THE EMPLOYER STATED THAT although he was unemployable by them he could do work elsewhere as a result they denied a pension, we have approached the Trustees, and the Scheme manager has indicated there is no appeal as the decision was in the opinion of the EMPLOYER - they have continued this stance for the last 8 years...........

 

It could be unusual, but it seems to be covered by the clause you quoted above.

 

I would be grateful for advice as the person concerned has never been employed since his dismissal and also has been under the care of a psychiatrist since 2002

 

As SarEl says, there are bodies that control pensions. I think the system is that you approach OPAS and if they think there is a case, it goes to the ombudsman. It isn't a quick process.

 

If this is a final salary scheme, you are looking at an area that is not known by many people, and I haven't seen a final salary expert on this forum since I joined. I hope my comments have helped a bit.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I may be wrong, but I am not sure that many people on here (at least on this board) will have the depth of pensions knowledge that you require. From a legal perspective the fact is that not working or unable to do a particular job, and unemployable, are not the same thing. But the employment board tends to deal with employment problems and this is really a pensions law problem - which may sound like the same thing, but aren't anywhere nearly the same. It might be a good idea to check out the other boards to see if there is one that might have the right kind of advisors on it.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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Thanks Honeybee I have interposted my response

 

I know someone whose employment was terminated as a result of ill health, to cut a long story - he was dismissed and has been ill ever since and under the care of mental health, however he was denied a pension as the employer stated the incapacity was not permanent, despite being confirmed as such, but they ignored the reports.

 

Who confirmed that your friend would never work again and what reports did the employer see please? The psychiatrist confirmed this to the employer that he will never be able to return to employment with this employer, it was again confirmed at the appeal process, but the OHP ignored this and indicated that there was some hope that he could return to some form of employment - at that time they stated that the Rules were that the employee is unable to return to any paid work - however from the trust rules it appears that this is not so clear cut. Since that time it has been confirmed that there is no improvement on 3 occasions, the employer then stated, they could not consider this - as it was the time of dismissal report which is relevant, this stated that he should have a clean break, to allow some recovery - this never did confirm recovery to return to gainful employment - at that time he was on over 22K

 

some years on I now have the pension scheme rules, this confirms that :

 

What type of pension scheme are we talking about? This is a company pension Scheme - Occupational based on final 3 years salary.

 

Permanent incapacity:

 

 

  1. A member who has completed 2 years service and retires owing in his employers opinion, to permanent incapacity in mind or body,may in lieu of any other pension elect to receive a immediate pension under this rule.
     
    So this person has 2 years' or more service, But they didn't leave to take retirement, they were dismissed? And it says that the employer is the final arbiter by the looks of it.

YES 10 Years service - the employer considered a pension for ill health, but did not inform the employee or his psychiatrist of this, but used the report for capability to warrant a refusal of the IHR. It is in the Employers Opinion and its very unreasonably geared towards a decision from them only............but the deeds state the Trustees have final say over any benefits payable - however they state the Employer has said no...........

If a pensioner has retired under 1 above and returns to service or gainful employment, the trustees shall have the right to review the pension and make adjustments which seem fair to the trustees.

 

That sounds like normal practice. I do accept this, but the provision is/or was that the termination was from Service, and that he would not return to Service or gainful employment, which if it had been awarded - they could have reviewed this instead of making him suffer financial hardship.

 

SERVICE is defined as working for a Employer who is a member of the scheme, gainful employment is undefined...

 

I'd say that means any job the person is capable of doing, mentally or physically. And for an employer in the same pension scheme. It's a group of companies, is it? it was a group of companies, which has now disbanded the pension scheme as they are no longer participating employers of the group and have been taken over by a American firm. so the Trustees have overal control, their decision remains that they can not review a IHR which was not made or decided correctly by the Employer, but they would have reviewed it - seems like a escape clause - which works to the detriment of the members.

 

My question is - would it be possible to argue that the employment has been terminated due to ill health and as a result under the rules this means retirement from service.

 

I'm not sure that's how I read it, but you may need a pensions lawyer [not cheap] or a second opinion like OPAS or the Ombudsmanlink3.gif.

 

THE EMPLOYER STATED THAT although he was unemployable by them he could do work elsewhere as a result they denied a pension, we have approached the Trustees, and the Scheme manager has indicated there is no appeal as the decision was in the opinion of the EMPLOYER - they have continued this stance for the last 8 years...........

 

It could be unusual, but it seems to be covered by the clause you quoted above. I understand - but will have to approach Pensions advisory service as they originaly stated we should get a final response from the Trustees, they stated they should have paid a pension - if new medical evidence or previous evidence was flawed - but the Trustees consider this wrong..

 

I would be grateful for advice as the person concerned has never been employed since his dismissallink3.gif and also has been under the care of a psychiatrist since 2002

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Hello, thank you for posting more.

 

I'd like SarEl to comment if she can, but I don't think having one's employment terminated is the same as being ill-health retired. Depending on what she thinks, there's a possiblity that this is out of time.

 

Assuming this is looked at again by OPAS, and I don't know if they will, I think they will look at things like the psychiatrist saying your friend was unable to return to this employer. That's not the same as being unable to do any work at all.

 

But if you've already contacted OPAS before and they are indeed the route to the ombudsman, I don't hold out very much hope of any decision being overturned. If you mean that you now have the letter OPAS said you should get, then you need to send it to them and let them advise.

 

As SarEl said, possibly a pensions lawyer could find a clever way around this problem, but there aren't very many of them. They tend to be in central London and very pricey.

 

The only other thing I would comment on is why you dealt through the scheme manager - do they work for the ex-company or group of companies? You could try writing directly to the chairman of the Trustees because they're meant to be a separate entity from the company. If by scheme manager, you mean someone who is secretary to the Trustees and they've already said no, then I think you could have an uphill struggle.

 

From what you've said so far, I think OPAS is the next thing to try.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Any ending of the employment relationship is a "termination" - the reason is what counts. From what has been said here, the reason was capacity. The person was incapable of doing their normal job and no alternative employment which they could do was available. Such a dismissal, properly done of course, is certainly fair in law, and does not imply in any way that the person is incapable of any work - which is obviously the sticking point on the pension issue. Such a termination, as I understand it, happened some years ago and would certainly be out of time, although it would appear that there was no real argument about capacity - the argument is about the pension interpretation. The termination alone is not sufficient to settle such an argument.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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  • dx100uk changed the title to husband is dismissal for ill health - retirement from service
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