I'll health retirement


I work full time as a frontline social worker and I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc L5/S1 lower back. I have and am still currently on serious meds morphine etc for the last few years. I have had on off periods of sickness and my employer local council has asked me to consider I'll health retirement. My GP supports this and my orthopaedic consultant will be asked for his views. He wrote to my Dr saying there is nothing else he can do and I am in constant pain which needs managing. I have had numerous therapies,back injections etc but nothing provides any long term relief. I struggle to walk and I'm now registered disabled.

Question: do you think I would qualify for tier 1 early retirement? As once I start the process I will have to accept what works will offer irrespective of pension financials. Tier 1 is full pension benefit, tier 2 is 25% enhancement etc.

Question: is there any other treatments to pursue? I can't afford to be without a job but the pain I'm constantly in early that's the reality.

Thanks A


  • Hi @Avvers75,

    Welcome to the online community!

    I see that you are considering ill health retirement from your frontline social worker position due to chronic pain and disability, and are looking for input as to whether you are entitled to tier 1 early retirement as well as what other treatments you could look into.

    I hope you will find this to be a friendly and supportive community and I'm sure that our members will be happy to offer guidance on these issues. In the meantime, you might find this information useful:

    I also encourage you to take a look around some of our lively social forums such as Say hello, where you can introduce yourself to other members if you'd like.

    Nice to meet you :)


  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Hi Avvers, you are in the situation I was 7 or 8 years ago although at the time I was self-employed. In any event I contacted a previous employer with whom I had reserved pension rights, I stated that if I was still employed with them I would be medically retired and they immediately agreed, they arranged an independent medical review and my pension was paid monthly including the lump sum. I also receive Employment Support Allowance (Support group), I had an assessment and they agreed that there was no work that I was able to undertake. In addition I receive PIP due to my disabilities (can't do anything and a wheelchair user). I live alone with my cat and, being divorced, live in social housing, as a result I also receive rent rebate and council tax rebate. I will not pretend that money is not tight but there comes a time when trying to struggle on is impossible!

  • Avvers75
    Avvers75 Member Posts: 6

    Thanks Mike. I've struggled for the last 6 years but I'm slowly grinding to a halt. I love my work as it's been a huge part of my identity for the last 20 years. Sadly I feel I not got to prioritise my health even though financially I will be far worse off. I'm fortunate to have a good caring hubby and adult son. I wish u good health stay safe

    Thanks Avril

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,208

    Oh Avril you are in an unenviable position, but if you decide to take ill health retirement you might find yourself much more comfortable than you are now. In fact i can almost guarantee it. As an ex SW myself my mental health and physical has improved. You can consider doing things voluntarily to keep your brain active and not lose the skills you have.

    I think your HR ought to be able to give you your figures so you have an idea as to what you will receive monthly .

    Let us know what you decide to do

    take care

  • Avvers75
    Avvers75 Member Posts: 6

    Hi thanks for the response. I think sadly that's the only way forward. My back spasmed this morning and it took my breath away to the point my leg buckled. I feel so wore out with it all. I don't know how people keep going with chronicle pain.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,208

    Sounds like it's going that way Avril🤔

    I got stuck in my car once outside the office when my back spasmed. You do have my sympathy ((()))

    You must be worn out with it all.

    Take care

  • Avvers75
    Avvers75 Member Posts: 6

    I've got stuck in the car also and upstairs in a service users house they had to help me down😂 I was assaulted in work back last year as the child jumped on my back and I spent the night in A and E. Sometimes my brain can't keep up with the limitations of my body the frustration is immense.


  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 406

    Hi ,

    I am in exactly the same position as you I’m on sick at the moment and was sent my contract by my employer on sickness policy they want a face to face meeting although I’m unable to drive due to loss of function in my right arm but it really adds not only to the stress of being off work and my confidence has taken an almighty knock but I’m divorced and have this huge fear of ending up on the streets at 61

    The fire alarm went off at work for me and I was 2 flights up the lifts close automatically and I realised I could have been stuck so I realised enough was enough I know COVID is terrible but there seems to be no compassion at all for those of us that have through no fault other than grew older and become arthritic

    one thing I find difficult to comprehend is why in 2021 do some people still find it acceptable to minimise arthritis it’s a terrible painful disease and sometimes no matter what you do sit, stand or lay down nothing stops this pain

    go for it and take early retirement the world will go on, I’ve been told I’m replaceable at work

    take care of you

    love and compassion always

    Jona 😊

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,208


    '......one thing I find difficult to comprehend is why in 2021 do some people still find it acceptable to minimise arthritis it’s a terrible painful disease and sometimes no matter what you do sit, stand or lay down nothing stops this pain.'

    I suppose because it's like a spectrum of pain? Some people have maybe one joint affected and can carry on or have it replaced and are restored to full-health??? So some think it's not as bad as it can be😕


    It is unsafe for you to continue to work surely? getting stuck in a service users house could have ended really badly!

    take care both

  • Avvers75
    Avvers75 Member Posts: 6

    We are only just numbers. I saw my orthopaedic surgeon again this week and owing to Covid there is no movement on me having injections. I hope you are well and take care.

  • Debchas
    Debchas Member Posts: 1

    Yes I’ve only had phone appointments stopped taking my methertrexate in pandemic but now suffering is it ok to just start again

  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 925

    Hi @Debchas and welcome to the online community,

    It would be good to know a bit more about you and your current situation, but it seems you stopped taking methotrexate during the pandemic and now because you’re suffering you’d like to start taking it again. Did you decide to stop taking it or did your doctor advise you to? Either way, It’s not a drug that you can stop and start taking without advice from your consultant or GP, so I would advise you to talk to your medical specialist before you do anything. I would imagine they could advise you what to do on a phone appointment or at least refer you to someone who can.

    Have a look at the Versus Arthritis information on methotrexate below - as you probably know, it is a powerful drug that needs monitoring by your doctor.

    All the best,

    Anna ( moderator) : )

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,208

    Hi @Debchas

    I think a quick call to your rheumatology team (nurses?) would be advisable so that your blood tests get restarted alongside your MTX?

    Just my own opinion. Is it possible your GP can help if he/she is more accessible and helpful?