Ill health retirement from teaching - anyone done it?

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Hi, I'm seriously considering applying for ill  health retirement from my teaching job. I'm 55 next February .

Finished treatment for breast cancer in March 2022 (lumpectomy, chemo, radiotherapy , Herceptin and taking Anastrozole).

I went back to work guns blazing but developed a severe form of asthma called eosinophilic asthma. I'm currently under the respiratory team at my local hospital and the first drug they've given me hasn't worked. I'm waiting to hear about a second type of injection in January.

Im constantly coughing, breathless, I have a hoarse and croaky voice. Teaching is hard as I struggle to project my voice. My sleep is affected as I wake up coughing so I'm permanently exhausted. 

I've had a lot of time off work over the past 20 months with a stay in hospital. 
Anyone successfully done this?


  • I was in further education for over 20 and a good number of folks in my college achieved this, you just go through the system with HR…….. I applied when I was 55, I had lived with and been treated fora very rare incurable blood cancer for 12 years….. I was on a full time table all the time during treatment…… my condition became aggressive so I applied for early retirement but was turned down as my blood cancer did not fit the criteria as it was not serious enough…….. even although 2 years later I had 45 radiotherapy zaps, 750hrs chemo and 2 Stem Cell transplants that just about killed me.

    When I was turned down I just took my pension but lost out on some of the benefits……. 12 years on I have no regrets.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Hi Lou. I to am a teacher. I've been off work now for about 18 months and starting to think about returning. I'm so anxious about infections and fatigue that I'm not sure I can do the job  justice. I'm too young to retire at 48 and don't think there would be much in my pension pot. I'm not sure I would get retirement on ill health grounds.  I wish you well and hope your exhaustion eases off soon.

  • My husband was a teacher, he took ill health early payments due to his cancer diagnosis and treatment. He was 54 at the time and thinking of cashing out at 55 anyway. It meant that they paid the full amount without deductions. They are adamant that if you return to teaching you must tell them and payments will stop, but he has no plans to teach again. The process was quick, he received the lump sum within 7 days and now receives his monthly sum. If you are on universal credit beware of the £16,000 limit they place on savings before withdrawing UC. Hope this helps. Take Care