|How does the ill Health Pension Process work.|
|Since 2002 Guidance has been offered to the application of the Police Pension Regulations and procedures have been introduced which ensure the independence of the scheme.|
In many forces the ill health pension process and injury award process are two separate topics as far as each Force is concerned. In respect of an ill health pension application the follow is an outline;
The Force must refer you to an Independent Selected Medical Practitioner (SMP) if they are considering whether you are permanently disabled from carrying out the 'ordinary duties of a constable'. The referral to the SMP can be either requested by the Force, or by the officer via the FMA, provided it is supported by suitable medical evidence. This process is co-ordinated via the Occupational Health Unit's, Force Medical Advisor.
The test on the 'ordinary duties of a Constable' is intended to be a robust one. It includes physical activities such as arrest and restraint, running and walking reasonable distances, as well as physiological tests, such as understanding and managing information. The inability to do any one of the activities identified would render an officer disabled from "ordinary duties".
The whole process can take many months as the various reports are complied, along with assessments and consultations which may take place.
If, after referral and sight of the subsequent report to the Force from the SMP, you disagree with the SMP's decision, it is possible to appeal to a Police Medical Appeal Board. There are strict timescales to do this so it is essential that you contact your Federation Office as soon as you receive a copy of the SMP's report so that you can get further advice on how to do this from a trained representative.
The fact that you may be permanently disabled does not automatically mean you will be retired. In fact quite the opposite is the case. The Pension Guidance, reinforced by the Disability Discrimination Act, places a presumption that officers unable to perform front-line duties should be retained in the service in other roles.
This is a managerial decision based on the report of the SMP on an officer's capability, the identification of a suitable post, and the completion of a suitable risk assessment. You are able to provide comments on your own wishes, but ultimately it is a decision for the Force whether you are retained or retired.
There is no appeal against this decision and the only challenge would be by Judicial Review if the decision to retain an officer were irrational.
If the decision is taken to retain you then you should be provided with a proper career pathway. Obviously if you are quite young in service this is even more important. For example just because you are disabled does not mean that you cannot be promoted. In fact the Disability Discrimination Act provides that an employer should positively discriminate for disabled people and identify roles that are particularly suitable for disabled people. If you are retained then good practice would be to have a meeting with your line manager and HR Manager to discuss how your future career can be structured and managed. We would encourage you to request such a meeting.
In respect of injury awards: the process of assessment is similar to ill health retirement save for a questionnaire which requests detailed information on an individual assessment to earn and the SMP's assessment of the injury being caused on duty and the affect on the individual's potential to earn. There is an appeal process in respect of the SMP's decision if required. Injury awards currently are made in respect of how the injury on duty has affected the individual's potential to earn at time of assessment by the SMP.
The time taken for an individual to undergo either or both processes is often measured by more than days and weeks, unless the individual is terminally ill.
If you are subject of an injury which occurred on duty, it is vital that you complete all required official documents, i.e. that an accident book entry is made in the station or department accident register and that an injury on duty form (or equivalent) is completed. You should also obtain from the DWP, form BI 100a, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) which should be completed and returned to the appropriate DWP JobCentre Plus.
If you have not yet registered and claimed in respect of your injury then you should do so as soon as possible as any injury award if one is made under the Police Pension will be offset by the IIDB and if that has not been resolved the injury award pension will be abated until the Force Pension Section has documentary evidence supplied showing that the DWP have considered an rejected such a claim or showing the level of assessment and the level of benefit payable.
If you wish to check the appropriate station accident book we suggest you visit the applicable station's admin unit where you were stationed at the time. Likewise your personnel record should have a copy of any IOD forms submitted in respect of any injuries on duty you have suffered, e.g. Polac in 1998, arm injury in 2003, concussion in 2007, etc. If these have not been done then a supervisor should be asked to submit them in respect of each occasion.
If a police officer is retired from the Force in any circumstance they are entitled to apply for Job Seekers Allowance, though the application may be rejected or there may be no allowance payable dependent on circumstances at the time - see the following web page for full advice -
Gov UK JSA
If due to prolonged sickness Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which expires after six months, is lost then an application for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) would be applicable and a form would be supplied by the Force to the individual along with a certificate in respect of the payment of SSP, both of which would be needed to successfully submit a claim for ESA. Full details of this matter would be supplied at the time by the Force to any individual affected by such actions.
If you are retired, NOT a current officer, then the ESA is detailed -
Gov UK Benefits
this is best claimed in writing and the claim form is here -
If you have not yet registered and claimed ESA then you should do so as soon as possible as any injury award pension, if one is granted under the Police Injury Benefit Regulations may be offset by ESA and if that has not been resolved the injury award pension will be abated until the Force Pension Section has documentary evidence supplied showing that the DWP have considered and rejected such a claim or showing the level of assessment and the level of benefit payable.
When an individual is off sick for such a length of time then they would also be considered by the Force for reduction in pay, the process of which involves the individual, their line manager and District or Departmental HR and the Federation (if we are told), representations can be made to give reasons as to why the pay should not reduced.
If an officer is to be ill health retired then papers will be prepared by HQ HR which will be formally served on the individual and then a 12 week notice period applies before the actual date of retirement.
The pensions administrator will produce a pension forecast if and when required; giving the actual figures when the ill health process has been completed and the retirement approved by the Force.
Whilst ill health pensions once awarded are not reviewable, injury awards are and should be regularly reviewed by the Force according to the Regulations.
|Category: GENERAL, Last Updated: 29-10-2014 |