Hogan Lovells

Key Dates

Mrs T, PO-21354, 30 May 2019


Summary

The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman (DPO) has found that the member's employer had reached a flawed decision in relation to her application for ill health early retirement (IHER), in that it had not asked all the relevant questions before reaching its decision.

Mrs T suffered from chronic back pain and was dismissed by her employer, a primary school, following an extended period of sick leave.  She applied for IHER under her pension scheme (the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)).  Under the Scheme, a member is entitled to Tier 1 benefits if that member is "unlikely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment before normal pension age".  A member is entitled to (lower) Tier 2 benefits if the member is "unlikely to be capable of undertaking any gainful employment within three years of leaving the employment; and …is likely to be able to undertake gainful employment before reaching normal pension age".

The Scheme's independent registered medical practitioner (IRMP) reported that:

"…I consider that permanence has been established, in terms of [Mrs T's] ongoing symptoms…There is, however, the potential in my opinion for [Mrs T] to manage her symptoms more successfully in due course.  Therefore, in my opinion, the evidence would support a Tier 2 recommendation…".

Mrs T appealed through the Scheme's internal dispute resolution procedure and then to the Pensions Ombudsman.  The DPO upheld her appeal and held the following:

The employer was directed to refer Mrs T's case to a new IRMP who had not previously advised on Mrs T, and then to make a fresh decision whether to award her a Tier 1 pension.  Mrs T was also awarded £1,000 for the serious distress and inconvenience caused.



Date Accessed: 28/05/2022