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EPN409 - Retrospective Ill Health Retirement (RIHR): Employer Responsibilities and Guidance

Audience:

This notice will be of interest to:

  • HR Managers and 
  • Pension Leads

Action: 

  • To read, note and act on the following guidance when dealing with any applications for RIHR.
  • To ensure the HR function understands the consequences upon an individuals ill health retirement options when they leave service

Timing: 

Immediate

Detail

  1. This guidance clarifies some misunderstandings surrounding how and when an application for RIHR should be used, to ensure employers understand how to manage the process. In particular, about how RIHR and ordinary IHR relate to other types of leaving - e.g. Dismissal or Voluntary Exit.  (This guidance is issued as further clarification and does not replace EPN 340 or the guidance set out in the Employers’ Pension Guide, Section 6, Annex 6J.
  2. What is Retrospective Ill Health Retirement (RIHR)?

    RIHR is where a former employee asks you to consider them for Ill Health Retirement after they have left your employment.  You must not process such RIHR applications unless you have Cabinet Office agreement (from The Pension Schemes Executive).  See “Applying for RIHR” below. You need to do this before you send the employee’s application papers to the Scheme Medical Adviser.
  3. However, you should note that RIHR does not appear in the Civil Service pension scheme rules. This means that individuals have no statutory right to ask for RIHR.  However, Cabinet Office will allow retrospective RIHR applications in restricted and exceptional circumstances. This will include situations where the employer or Scheme Medical Adviser has made an error or omission in handling the individual's exit.  This might be, for example, where the employer failed to consider IHR for an individual when it is clear that it should have been considered or where the individual resigned or was dismissed for reasons connected with health but was not made aware of their right to apply for ill health retirement. RIHR is therefore a form of redress for errors or omissions, not a right that an individual retains after they have left.
  4. How should IHR and RIHR be applied alongside other types of exit?

    Voluntary Exits

    Where someone is leaving voluntarily (e.g. resigning, retiring or leaving under voluntary exit terms (including voluntary redundancy) they are choosing those exit terms rather than leaving on IHR. Therefore any IHR application will come to an end when the individual leaves. That would include any IHR application at the appeal stage. It is therefore very important that you as the employer makes this very clear to any employee who is considering leaving under voluntary terms who also has or might be eligible for an application for IHR. To imply to a member (before they actually leave) that RIHR is an option would be to admit you are mishandling their exit.
  5. Other forms of Exit

    However, where a person is dismissed or made compulsorily redundant then as long as an IHR application has been submitted before their last day of service then that application can continue to its conclusion. (Again that would include the appeal process). It should be explained to the member that should the IHR terms be granted then any leaving package paid to the member would be replaced by the IHR benefits and any amount already paid would need to be recovered from those benefits. There is a form of words in the Employers’ Pension Guide (6.3.8 to 6.3.11) that can be used to get the employee’s acknowledgement. IHR being granted after the last day of service under these circumstances would not therefore be RIHR.
  6. Applying for RIHR

    It must be the employer who applies to Cabinet Office on behalf of an individual. You should put the application in writing to: SMEreferrals@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
  7. You will need to set out the reason the individual believes they are eligible to apply for RIHR and then give the details about the person’s exit. This will include:

    - sequence of events with dates
    - details of sick leave
    - copies of any OHA advice
    - copy of any dismissal letter
    - any other relevant correspondence or emails advising the member
  8. Cabinet Office will need to see this evidence in order to decide whether the handling of a person’s exit has been correctly managed. If Cabinet Office agrees that a person can be put forward for RIHR it is the employer who applies to the Scheme Medical Adviser in the normal way.
  9. You should make the member aware that the Scheme Medical Adviser will be seeking to determine whether they met the ill health retirement criteria at the time they left service, not at the time of the RIHR application. So a person who did not meet the criteria at the time they left service will not be granted RIHR, even if their health has subsequently deteriorated.
  10. You should be aware we have put in place a process where the scheme administrator, MyCSP, needs to see the Cabinet Office authorisation before they proceed with a RIHR award.
  11. If after reading this guidance you still have questions about whether RIHR might apply then you send your enquiry to the SMEreferrals email address (see above).

Contact

If you have a question about the distribution of EPNs or you need to receive them in a different format contact employerpensionnotice@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk.

You can find electronic copies of the Employer Pension Guide, all current EPNs and forms on our website.

This notice is for employers and should not be issued to scheme members.

If members have a question about their pension they can find information on this website or by contacting your Pension Service Centre.