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Should I think about giving up work?

I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 14 years and I'm getting to the end of my tether with pain and fatigue. I really struggle going to work and don't think I'm much use as an employee because I have so much time off sick and rely too much on my colleagues. Work is really supportive but secretly they must hate me!

I'm currently in the 3rd week of 3 weeks sick and am dreading next week as I don't know how I'll cope. Trouble is I'm only 45 and I'll-health retirement rules are so tight now. I did reduce hours and grade 10 years ago on grounds of ill-health but wrote a letter (not computerised then) and don't know how to find out if it's on file without rocking the boat with my boss. To afford retirement I'd need the full pension which means they'd have to say I'm unlikely to get another job before 65. I can't see who'd have me, but it depends whether they'd agree!

I spend all my non-working time recovering from work and don't see how I can carry on lik this.

Sorry for ramble - stream of consciousness - but any suggestions about what to do??

Comments

  • maria09maria09 Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 14 years and I'm getting to the end of my tether with pain and fatigue. I really struggle going to work and don't think I'm much use as an employee because I have so much time off sick and rely too much on my colleagues. Work is really supportive but secretly they must hate me!

    I'm currently in the 3rd week of 3 weeks sick and am dreading next week as I don't know how I'll cope. Trouble is I'm only 45 and I'll-health retirement rules are so tight now. I did reduce hours and grade 10 years ago on grounds of ill-health but wrote a letter (not computerised then) and don't know how to find out if it's on file without rocking the boat with my boss. To afford retirement I'd need the full pension which means they'd have to say I'm unlikely to get another job before 65. I can't see who'd have me, but it depends whether they'd agree!

    I spend all my non-working time recovering from work and don't see how I can carry on lik this.

    Sorry for ramble - stream of consciousness - but any suggestions about what to do??
    You totally have my sympathy lots of us on here are going through similar maybe we need to start a club! x
  • dorcasdorcas Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi shockingpink and welcome to the forum. :D but so sorry that you are having such worry with work and RA.

    What support have you had from your employer? have you had any assessments?

    We are a friendly bunch here and try to support one another as much as we can. You'll see already that lots of us have been or are going through the same process, so if you feel like telling us a bit more about your situation at work perhaps we can offer some advice or point you in the right direction.

    sorry you are so tired with the RA..knocks the stuffing out of you.


    Iris x
  • shockingpinkshockingpink Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for the welcome. I do get lots of support from my line manager and colleagues and I've had an assessment from occ health which resulted in various adjustments. The thing is i'm the person who does my job so feel really guilty when I'm off . My job involves giving talks to groups of parents and children and dragging myself in with a fake smile probably does our reputation no good!

    I think I have almost decided I want to go, but how do I broach the subject? Also my reduced hours will affect my pension unless I can prove the change was for health reasons (it was). I need to go but don't want to lose out.

    All advice gratefully received - I'm in the local government pension scheme.
  • dorcasdorcas Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello again!

    It sounds as though you have already made your decision...so good for you. :D
    now it's important to get a proper 'retirement on ill health' package.

    I'm in a local authority pension scheme too...

    If you want to know about the criteria for retiring on ill health , contact your l/a pension provider and ask them to send you a copy of their pension scheme which will include the information you need. they can e mail it to you...

    As far as I know (limited to the l/a I'm covered by) there are two levels of ill health retirement....the one that you want is that you are unable to do any work as the package is much better. My l/a offer 6.3 additional pension years to those meeting that criteria.

    The procedure for retiring on ill health is to contact your HR office and inform them that you want to be considered...they will ask Occy doctor to see you to assess your case..BUT please be careful...once that process is triggered there is no way back..so if you ARE assessed as unfit you cannot then change your mind.

    The other thing you can do is contact the union and ask them to find out about all of this on your behalf without declaring it to HR, so's you have time to consider it without the commitment. The union might also be able to get you a projection of the financial packages!.

    As far as the reduction in hours 10yrs ago due to ill health....you are entitled to access your personnel records....so just ask. you don't have to give a reason!

    I have a copy of my l/a pension scheme which I could email to you if you want to PM me your email address? but your l/a might be different so I don't know how useful that would be.

    hope that helps a bit...I'm sure there will be others here on the forum who have gone through the process so might be better able to offer you advice than me. Iris x
  • shockingpinkshockingpink Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    i've just had a look at the lgps website - apparently gainful employment is 30 hrs per week- for a full pension you have to be incapable of this up to age 65. I currently only do 28 hours (and struggle!) so I'd hope I'd pass that test... what does anyone think?
  • janie68janie68 Posts: 1,186
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi

    Sorry to hear that you are in this position. It must be very worrying for you. What meds are you on? Have you tried anti-tnf? I have had RA for almost 16 years and even though the anti-tnf took almost 4 months to work, I am now again working, only 3 days now and I do still struggle with mobility and dressing, eating etc. But not to the extent as I did, I have an electric wheelchair and a chair to help me at work provided by access to work. Have you had an assessment done by access to work? I was staring ill health retirement in the face until the anti-tnf and I'm only 38.
    You must be feeling very down about it all, do you get DLA? If not apply but I guess you do as you have had RA for so long.

    Keep us posted
  • nuttynananuttynana Posts: 44
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi shockingpink

    All that you have written sounds just like what I am facing. It is a real nightmare, and like you I am not sure which route to take. I too work for Local Governement, but I get put off going through the process when I see what my brother in law went through.
    Don't know about you but it is this horrid guilt feeling I have about being off, and then a horrid feeling about returning to work and wonder what people are saying. Have had RA about 10 years.
    I think from what you have written you possibly are at a point of wanting and needing to give up work and go for ill health retirement - if that is the case don't feel guilty or bad - sometimes we just have to do what is right for 'US' not everyone else.
    There is some really good advice on this forum and thank you to all those who have contributed because it has given me information I knew nothing about. I shall certainly be watching this thread closely.
    Thinking of you at this difficult time.
    Hazel x
  • shockingpinkshockingpink Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks so much everyone for all your thoughts so far. Janie - I was on Infliximab for a few years, but eventslly it stopped working. I then tried Etanercept but had an allergic reaction. I've just started on Humera and obviously need to give it time to kick in, but to be honest I'm fed up with just surviving. My colleagues at work have seen me when I'm really struggling so I'm sure they don't think I'm faking, but the fact I'm the sole person in my role adds to my guilt and also the stress when I get back. I'm just fed up running myself in to the ground and want a tiny bit of energy for the rest of my life.

    What's putting me off (apart from money!) is the hassle and what message it will send to my bosses if I fail.
  • nuttynananuttynana Posts: 44
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi again shockingpink

    I can empathise with you - I have similar worries re money and what if I fail!!! Also like you there is just me in my job, and I am aware that others are having to pick up the pieces whilst I am away, I am in my 6/7th week off!! Good luck in whatever you decide, least you know we will all support you here. If you ever just want to talk I am happy to give you my phone number - sometimes saying it out loud to someone who really knows what it feels like can be helpful and often you solve your decision making process by talking.

    Take care, and try not to mull it over for too long as that will add to your stress and make you feel even worse!

    My thoughts are with you.
    Hazel x
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