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Local Government Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership and Contributions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

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Early leavers: ill-health

20.—(1) Where a member, who has total membership of at least one year, leaves a local government employment on the grounds that—

(a)his ill-health or infirmity of mind or body renders him permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of that employment; and

(b)he has a reduced likelihood of obtaining gainful employment (whether in local government or otherwise) before his normal retirement age,

the Committee may, at the request of the employing authority, determine that his retirement pension comes into payment before his normal retirement age in accordance with this regulation in the circumstances set out in paragraph (2), or (3), as the case may be.

(2) If the Committee determine that there is no reasonable prospect of his obtaining any gainful employment because of his ill-health before his normal retirement age, his benefits are increased—

(a)as if the date on which he leaves his employment were his normal retirement age; and

(b)by adding to his total membership at that date the whole of the period between that date and the date on which he would have retired at normal retirement age.

(3) If the Committee determine that he has a reasonable prospect of obtaining any gainful employment before his normal retirement age, his benefits are increased—

(a)as if the date on which he leaves his employment were his normal retirement age; and

(b)by adding to his total membership at that date 25% of the period between that date and the date on which he would have retired at normal retirement age.

(4) Where the Committee, at the request of the employing authority, is considering whether a person who has ceased to hold a local government employment is entitled to benefit under this regulation, it shall refer for decision to an independent registered medical practitioner qualified in occupational health medicine, appointed by the Committee, as to whether in his opinion, expressed as a certificate, the member is suffering from a condition that renders him permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of the relevant employment because of ill-health or infirmity of mind or body and, if so, whether as a result of that condition he—

(a)has no reasonable prospect of obtaining any gainful employment before his normal retirement age; or

(b)has a reasonable prospect of obtaining any gainful employment before his normal retirement age.

(5) Subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), in the case of a member in part-time employment, the period to be added under paragraph (2)(b) or (3)(b), as the case may be, is calculated in accordance with regulation 7(3) as if he had remained in such part-time employment until his normal retirement age.

(6) Where the certificate obtained under paragraph (5) states that, in the medical practitioner’s opinion, the member is wholly or temporarily in part-time employment as a result of the condition that has caused him to be incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of the relevant local government employment, no account shall be taken of such reduction in his employment as is attributable to that condition.

(7) But if, in the case of a person who is a member before 1st April 2009 and who has attained the age of 45 before that date, the period to be added under paragraph (2)(b) or (3)(b) is less than the period that would have been added had regulation 30 (amounts of ill-health pension and grant) of the 2002 Regulations applied, then his benefits are increased by adding the latter period.

(8) The Committee and the independent registered medical practitioner must have regard to guidance given by the Department when carrying out their function under this regulation, when making an ill-health determination.

(9) In this regulation—

“gainful employment” means paid employment for not less than 30 hours in each week for a period of not less than 12 months;

“permanently incapable” means that the member will, more likely than not, be incapable until, at the earliest, his 65th birthday; and

“qualified in occupational health medicine” means—

(a)

holding a diploma in occupational medicine (D Occ Med) or an equivalent qualification issued by a competent authority in an EEA State; and for the purposes of this definition, “competent authority” has the meaning given by the General and Specialist Medical Practice (Education, Training and Qualification) Order 2003(1); or

(b)

being an Associate, a Member or a Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine or an equivalent institution of an EEA State.

(1)

S.I. 2003/1250 as amended by S.I. 2004/1947.

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