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Fibromyalgia & An Ill-Health Early Retirement Pension

Dear Brian,

Is it possible for FM sufferers to bring successful claims for an Ill-Health Early Retirement Pension?

My Company’s Pension Scheme wording states, “If you are found to be permanently unfit to carry out the duties of your post and you are retired prematurely….you will receive…”

I would love to keep working as I enjoy my job.  However, I have had to reduce my hours to three days per week and this still leaves me totally exhausted and in great pain for the rest of the week.  I do not know how long I will be able to carry on like this.

The Company’s Occupational Health Nurse advised in her report that FM is a type of rheumatism and may settle down by itself!  Her advice was to change my work station, not to slouch and definitely not to take any time off work!

What should I do next?  I have been working for the same organisation for over 16 years.




Dear Julie

Your situation is heart-rending, but also very typical.  The reaction of the Occupational Health Nurse almost beggars belief.  I feel that you should go over her head and obtain a report following a consultation with a Consultant Rheumatologist who understands Fibromyalgia properly.  He will have to have a proper explanation from you as to what the “duties of your post” are and then he will have to give an opinion as to whether, more probably than not, you are permanently unfit to carry out those duties.

Armed with such a report, you have very reasonable prospects of being able to obtain your Ill-Health Early Retirement Pension.  It is always possible that the company will decide to go to a Consultant of their own choosing who is likely to say the very opposite.  It may then be a question of which is the more persuasive expert.

Assuming that you have been a good employee over the past 16 years with your organisation, I would like to think that that would also stand you in good stead.  Ultimately, it is a medical question as to whether you are permanently unfit to carry out your duties at work.  Whilst nobody wants to see you having to give up work, being only able to manage three days a week and being totally exhausted and in great pain as a consequence is hardly a description of normal working.



This question and answer originally appeared in Fibromyalgia Magazine

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