Is ill-health retirement an option for me

Many people will go through times in their life when work becomes more difficult because of their circumstances or an illness. This could be in relation to a person’s mental health or physical health. But in some cases, employees’ conditions or disabilities can significantly affect their ability to work. 

If you have a health condition that makes working no longer an option, you may be eligible for ill-health retirement. In turn, claiming your pension before 55. 


What is ill-health retirement? 


When you ‘medically retire’ you are finishing working because you are no longer able to do so due to a medical condition, or illness. In the UK, this means a person can draw their pension before the age of 55. The condition must be of a severity where it inhibits your ability to complete your normal job or seriously reduces your earning abilities. 


Reasonable adjustments 


Ill-health retirement is the last option when other avenues have been exhausted. If you have a medical condition or disability, you have the right to ask your employer to make reasonable adjustments. These adjustments make working for you easier in relation to your medical condition. Meaning you can continue in your job, and continue to earn money. Avoiding the need to go down the route of ill-health retirement. 


Who is eligible for ill-health retirement? 


When working in the private sector, whether you are eligible and the criteria for eligibility is dependent on the pension plan to which you are subscribed. For these companies within the private sector, it’s important that occupational health services are consulted to understand, from an assessment, whether an individual is eligible for ill-health retirement. 

Not everyone will be considered eligible for ill-health retirement, as certain criteria must be met. Along with independent financial advice to ensure that the person can afford early retirement and that they will not run out of money too soon. 

To be considered for ill-health retirement you must: 


  • Been employed at your current job for at least 2 years AND be retiring from current employment because of illness, condition, or disability 
  • Be permanently unable to efficiently complete your job because of an illness, condition, or disability 
  • Be permanently unable to complete regular employment because of an illness, condition, or disability 
  • Be under the pension scheme ‘normal pension’ age


Starting the ill-health retirement process 


If you’re looking to begin the early-retirement process because of an illness or disability, then you or your employer will need to submit a referral to Acorn. In this referral, the background information of the individual should be included. Once we have received all this information required, a member of our team will get in touch with you to arrange an assessment. This assessment will be completed by one of our Occupational Health Physicians. 


Contact Us 


Need more information on ill-health retirement, and whether you or one of your employees is eligible, please get in touch with our team. Visit our FAQs page, call us at 01260 277797, or email us at

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.