Mrs N (PO- 19673): Ill-health early retirements: time is of the essence
The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman (the Deputy Ombudsman) upheld a complaint determining that the Local Government Pension Scheme's (LGPS) employer should have set the member's retirement date to the same day it approved the member's ill-health early retirement (IHER) application.
Mrs N, an employee of Derbyshire County Council (the Council) who was the LGPS Scheme Employer, was diagnosed with a breast cancer. When talking to the HR department she was provided with two different figures for a survivor's pension and a death grant depending on whether or not she would have passed away in service. The figure was higher if she would have died after her retirement had started.
The Council requested medical reports which were received on 31 December 2015 and then considered by an independent registered medical practitioner (IRMP) who, on 12 January 2016, concluded that Mrs N's life expectancy was probably less than one year.
The Council approved Mrs N's ill-health retirement application and set her last day of employment to 31 January 2016 (19 days after receiving the IRMP's report).
On 30 January 2016, the day before her retirement, Mrs N died. Therefore, the member died in service and Dr Y, Mrs N's widower, was entitled to the lower level of death grant.
Dr Y complained under the LGPS' internal dispute resolution procedure but the employer stated that the Rules of the Scheme did not allow to retrospectively amending the retirement date and rejected the complaint.