UK - Public service scheme members are leaving their jobs because they are too ill to work but are unable to claim their pension, Unison claims.
The public service union revealed that its members were finding it increasingly difficult to retire on grounds of ill-health.
Unison says the problem is due to the poor procedures used to justify ill-health claims.
It said the failure of these members to get early retirement meant there were many workers too ill to work but unable to claim any pension.
Unison head of pensions Glyn Jenkins said: “We are not concerned per se that ill health retirements are going down.
“Our concern is that an increasing number of members are leaving without a pension – clearly this is a major problem.”
But local authority pensions managers said the administration of ill-health retirement within the local government pension scheme had historically been “very patchy”.
Greater Manchester Pension Fund head of pensions administration Ged Dale stressed that the rate of ill-health retirement had been much higher in the LGPS then in the private sector.
“Incapacity retirements are harder to come by now, in part because greater rigour is applied about the permanence of the incapacity. This now has to last until at least age 65.
“Consequently some people who have long-term but not permanent illnesses don’t qualify for incapacity benefits.”
West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities chief pensions officer Mike Woodall agreed.
But he pointed out the issue was being considered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as part of its review of local government pensions.
Woodall said the government proposed that ill-health retirements should be conducted with review periods so that if an employee’s health improves the pension payment would be abated.
He said: “There are degrees of infirmity.
“There are instances where people can do another job and there are types of illness where the person is incapable for a certain amount of time.”
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