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http://www.meassociation.org.uk/content/view/814/161/

boo!

I would like to say well done to Kevin Short and Douglas Fraser for trying and for putting so much into this fight for all of us with this illness. It may not have worked this time but I hope that the publicity generated will have some long term positive impact even if the judges decision allows so much injustice to continue in the (mis)treatment and the welfare of so many people; not just in terms of NHS treatment, but also in the denial of insurance claims, pensions, benefits etc where people are made to undertake “treatments” that are not in their best interest, just as an excuse for the company not to pay out…

I woke up so happy this morning and this is the second piece of bad news I have had…

When will all this money stuff end?

My employer has very kindly informed me that i could apply for early retirement through ill health. This does not mean they know i am eligible, only that my pension may be frozen soon as i have been off work for 2 and a half years so the opportunity to apply may then cease; so they are telling me it is an option… i think i can apply and then see if i want to take it when i know the outcome of the application.

I know nothing about this and now i have three weeks (now 2 and a half) to find out all about it and decide if i should apply. As it will involve medicals etc i do not want to bother if there is no point. Also as i only worked part time for a few years it is not a big pension that i have and it may not be worth it in terms of the effects it has on other benefits i get, such as incapacity benefit. But with the changes to incapacity benefit, is that even safe for the future and should i try for anything i get chance to have?

It seems i can apply and then be awarded either full or partial incapacity (or nothing, obviously). Partial is probably not worth much as it is a reduced amount, and if i get it. my HPI insurance payment will stop (as it is an earnings protection payment and i would be retired! HPI is worth a lot more than the partial incapacity payment). To get full i need to be seen as unable to do my current role or any other in the long term… how can this be proven with a condition like ME? I have been ill for 10 years and am unlikely to be ever fully well again, but you have to be unable to do more than 10% of previous work. As i was part time, i am not sure if they would count that level? (that would be 2 hours per week). I think i could argue now that i am unable to consistently do that and have been for a couple of years, but to say that i could not in future is tricky. I have started medication for POTS symptoms and have seen some improvement, and am unsure if more improvement will come, or not. If awarded they keep tabs on you and if you improve/work then the benefit stops, which is fair enough. Again the amount for full incapacity is not much on an annual basis, but the lump sum is quite healthy!

Another thing to consider is how safe my HPI payment is long term, can i count on that?

Does anyone have any experience of applying for ill health retirement with CFS/ME? If so any info/pointers would be welcome!

The other thing is that i have my student loans (three years worth) sitting there unpaid, as i have never earnt enough to start to repay them. I think i remember somewhere that if you retire due to ill-health you don’t have to repay! That would be nice… otherwise it is written off when i reach the age of 45 if still unable to repay, so another 13 years to wait on that score…

comments and any help welcome on this one!

my partner found this on the BBC news website:  Sick leave staff win holiday case

seeing as i left work about May 2006 and was not paid for holidays i did not take that year, never mind since then, i would be looking at quite a lot of holiday pay!!!! Of course it would never happen and also i think not really fair on my employers who are only keeping me on the books at this point so i can continue to benefit from their HPI scheme… but it made me smile!

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