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Permanent Health Insurance - almost time to apply

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by ringding, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I saw work last week and I have 7wks paid sick leave left, extending to 12wks if I use the full 2019 holiday allowance that they allowed me to carry over.

    At the start of December I thought I stood a chance of getting back to work, part time. But I got worse over Christmas and although I've improved since I'm still not well enough. With the glacial progress that I've made I don't see me being well enough in time.

    Consequently I think it's now quite likely I'll have to leave work (will wait and see but I'm planning for the worst). So, I think I need to get in touch with the PHI company to start the process with them (Phoenix Life).

    Does anyone have experience of how to approach this process, or any tips? I suspect it's all going to come down to the particular view that PL have of M.E. I have seen Dr Weir in the past so think I'll be able to call on him to advocate it needs be.

    However, I'll take any advice that's going! :)
     
    ladycatlover, Andy, MEMarge and 7 others like this.
  2. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm so sorry you're at this stage – I've been through it, too (only without the insurance!)

    I've never had access to anything like that, but sometimes in these situations they may need your employer to agree first that you're not well enough to continue. It's worth at least being mentally prepared for something along those lines; then, if it isn't necessary under the terms of your policy, you can cross it off as one less thing to think about.
     
  3. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sorry you've been through this too...
    I took the insurance out to cover the mortgage payments when we bought our first house, 22yrs ago, and then forgot all about it until I was first ill in 2016. If they'll pay out it will make a significant difference to the impact of losing my job. It'll still need some serious budgeting to cope with though!

    You make a very good point, and I can't believe that I hadn't twigged on that! I'll see if I can find the paperwork for the policy to see if it mentions it.

    As it happens my manager and HR have referred me to occupational health again so I'm expecting an email or phone call from them in the next week or so. I'll sound them out on it then. Previously they've been supportive so hopefully that'll continue.
     
    ladycatlover, MEMarge, MeSci and 2 others like this.
  4. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's always good to review paperwork in your own time, before you get to the point where your hand is forced. Coming out of work is quite an emotional process, even if you know it's probably going to be the best decision you ever made! It's a big adjustment, which takes some time.

    I live alone, so it was incredibly stressful for a long period until I got my housing and benefits sorted. I went through two years of not having anything like enough income to cover my outgoings, which was interesting! It's sorted for now – I have a lovely rented house on an independent living scheme, and about another year before the next benefits reassessment – so things are very much easier.

    I can't wait till I'm due my state pension, so at least I won't need one of the benefits. They changed the flipping rules, though, so I've got another five years to wait! :rolleyes:
     
  5. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    As well as understanding the process and criteria for claiming on your insurance policy you need to make sure you understand the process of leaving your employer. Important not to resign voluntarily. The employer will be dismissing you grounds of Ill health in which case they may make a compensation payment or depending on your pension arrangements you may be entitled to get an ill health retirement.
     
    ladycatlover, MEMarge, Kitty and 4 others like this.
  6. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Kitty I'm glad that you managed to successfully negotiate the system so far. It sounds like a right battle. I can understand the frustration over the pension!

    I've been through a bit of a mourning period for stopping work already, but got my hopes up again in December. It's just an emotional roller coaster really. There's so much I'm going to miss, even if I can go back part time I won't be able to do the same role. The people, the work itself (lots of problem solving and analysis), meeting with other parties to discuss technologies and the international travel (well European really but I got to go to France a lot which I enjoyed). My friend asked me how I'd look back on it the other day and suggested that I flip things on their head, so instead of concentrating on not being able to travel (for example) look back on the travel I did and the things I enjoyed. It has been helpful, but I'm still a bit bitter and twisted!
     
    ladycatlover, MEMarge, Kitty and 2 others like this.
  7. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @NelliePledge yes, that's also a good point. I think I'm going to need to make a list of things to do/not do.
    Retirement on ill health grounds is definitely an option with the pension scheme, but so is chronic ill health (which is better financially as it reduces penalties for early retirement). I'm going to need some advice from them on the financial implications of each, if it comes to that.
     
    ladycatlover, MEMarge, Kitty and 2 others like this.
  8. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I sympathise too.

    I had to retire on ill heath grounds. It was about 15 years ago, and I was a teacher, so my experiences may not be relevant to you, but here goes anyway.

    My employer and Union sort of organised most of my leaving my job and pension for me, sending me to a consultant for an assessment and report to support my ill health retirement pension application - he told me even if I recovered afterwards, I should never return to teaching as it would likely make me relapse.

    I gathered from the Union rep that for the Teachers' Pension Scheme, they reckon if someone has had ME for five years or more they are unlikely to get better, so are eligible for ill health retirement. If you're a member of a union, it's well worth getting their help.

    I also persuaded my employer to give me a severance payment as well. Just a few thousand, but every little helps.

    I didn't have a mortgage protection policy, as the mortgage I had at the time had been taken out when I already had ME, so I guessed they wouldn't pay up for a pre-existing condition if my ME got worse.

    Because I'd only been working part time, and for not many years, my Teachers Pension was not enough to live on, so I had to apply for state benefits as well - back then it was Incapacity Benefit. The amount I got was reduced because I was getting some pension as well. It's contributions based, so the amount wasn't affected by any savings. I don't know what the rules are now for ESA, but it's worth looking into that if you won't get much pension.

    Good luck.
     
  9. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you Trish. I'm not in a union but the professional body I'm a member of (IET) has a benevolent organisation that gives advice so I've contacted them.
    I've no idea what the pension would look like, I've been fulltime for 21yrs.
    There are so many unknowns, but you're all giving me things to investigate which is appreciated.
     
  10. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    True – I've never earned a lot and haven't had access to a company pension scheme since about 1983, but I did persuade my employer to make me redundant instead of cutting my hours by more than half (which is what they wanted to do). I even did the budget, pointing out that they could employ someone to cover the work for less than I'd been earning, and recoup the statutory redundancy payment within about 14 months. They'd been pretty supportive, specially as they were a small employer with no pensions or benefits to offer, and decided to agree to it. I was a bit surprised, but it shows that in some situations, it can be worth asking!

    I've had to learn to live on a small amount of money, but you adjust to it. I've no debt at all now, for pretty much the first time since I started work – I never had a lot, but I was often paying something or other off. You take it for granted whilst you're working that if your car or computer's falling to bits, you can top up your savings with some borrowings if you have to replace it. Now, I have to save for whatever I need, because I'm on means-tested benefits and therefore won't have much of a credit rating. I didn't realise how good that would feel!
     
  11. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    An update:

    I had a meeting (on the phone) with OH last week. They were very supportive, and sent me their report to review before it was sent to HR and my manager. BAsically stating that I'm in no state to return to work, and that I'm not likely to be anytime soon. They're going to talk to my GP and have asked HR to review what needs doing for ill health retirement.

    Saw the GP yesterday, she's great. Can't believe how lucky I am to have such a supportive GP. I've explained the work situation, that they will be contacting her for a report and that I've asked to see it first. She's fine with it all. She said that she can't see how I will be well enough to return before my pay expires, but not to give up hope for some sort of improvement in the future. Her view was that I should definitely explore the PHI route first, and see if work would put me on to long long term sickness (unpaid). I must admit that this appeals, I'd hate to lose my employment, but also it increases what feels like being in limbo.

    I received the paperwork from the PHI company last week. What a wodge of stuff to fill out! Am starting on it today.

    The professional body benevolent fund weren't much use. Just offering financial support (for which I don't qualify) and not the advice I was after.
     
  12. yME

    yME Established Member

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    Had this with my wife, beware they are often looking for permanent illness. You gps statement about eventual recovery will preclude your claim. Eduction perhaps? Ill health cover is an insurance cover your employer has bought. As such insurance companies famously wiggle using lies. They and their medical advisors are not on your side at anytime. We won her claim due to having all our phone calls recorded. £100 device. They requested a cbt course, which then made her worse, they agreed to stoping cbt and then denied this agreement using her non compliance to decline payment. The recording and good record keeping dating back many years put them in an un tenable position. Even their reasons for rejecting payment had miss quotes from PACE authors and fundamental errors regarding ME and her employment history. I still consider winning this battle for her the hardest of my life over that year. But then I had ME also. Save and date receipt every communication, keep a diary and consider recording calls if you are likely to be phoned even a dictaphone. I found brain fade caused us to forget verbal communication or change it’s outcomes. This is why we record all our calls for years, but it has paid of again and again.
    Good luck, you may need it.
     
  13. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you for the warnings. Sorry to hear you had such a battle.

    I'm not sure I can face such a fight! Am carefully wording the forms at the moment. Fingers crossed.
     
    ladycatlover, Ebb Tide and Trish like this.

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