When, if at all, is my injury award fixed?

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When, if at all, is my injury award fixed?

Post by yanuf on Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:35 am

Good morning.
I have a question but in order to get an answer I think that a little background might be required:
I joined up in 1981 and after “exemplary” service I was medically retired after an injury on duty, with 75%, disability in 2001, 10 days short of 20 years’ service. At that time I was aged 39 (yes, I joined at 19). Had I not been medically retired I would have had the opportunity to retired at either 25 or 30 years’ service in 2006 or in 2011: I will be 55 in 2017.
Now the question:
Having looked at the various PPR (1987, 2006 and the most recent) there is a mention of injury award being fixed once the recipient is at the age at which they “could” have retired. Does this mean voluntary retirement after 25 or 30 years’ service? Or does it mean at 55, as this was (when I joined, and when I was retired) compulsory retirement age. Or, is this now the new compulsory retirement age?
As you can probably see I am a little confused. Additionally I was called for review 2 years after retiring the result of which was that I was sent a letter stating that there would be no further review.
What I am trying to work out is this: Is my award fixed now, as I could have retired at 25 or 30 years, or is it fixed at 55, or is it not fixed at all?
Thanks in advance.
Yanuf

yanuf

Posts : 2
Join date : 2015-09-01

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Re: When, if at all, is my injury award fixed?

Post by Adversity on Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:04 pm

Hello, I am no expert, but I will try and explain.

Police (injury benefit) regs 2006,  (which cover the 1987 scheme as well), state the injury pension  can be reviewed at any time, and if the degree of disablement has substantially altered, they can revise the injury pension, but they can not take it off you totally, UNLESS you are at the same time NOT in receipt of an ordinary/ill health/or short service pension.

However they can take your ill health pension off you, up to a time when, had you remained in the job, you would have been entitled to reckon 25yrs pensionable service, or, had you continued to serve, you would have been required to retire, on account of age.  

They can also take your ill health pension of you if you commit treason, or similar offences.

So because you now would have had well over 25yrs, your ill health pension is safe, and hence your injury pension can only ever be upped or lowered, but never totally removed, unless you commit treason!

Don't look at the most recent legislation on the 2015 scheme because that has upper and lower pensions levels that have their own rules, and will just confuse you!

They can 'legally' review your injury pension at any point where they believe there may have been a significant change.  Many of us were told that we would never be reviewed, that was before austerity measures came in. There was an interesting document from 2012 from the Cambridgeshire DCC, http://www.scribd.com/doc/120294281/Cambridgeshire-Constabulary-New-Policy
that recognised some of us were told we would never be reviewed, and also that some of us had never been reviewed, and he even acknowledged the pensions ombudsman would have comment on such cases being reviewed. However they still were planning on reviewing such officers.  Remember if you read that document, it may be out of date now, but it will show you how they think.

Hope that makes sense

Adversity

Posts : 29
Join date : 2015-01-30

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Re: When, if at all, is my injury award fixed?

Post by Urtica on Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:52 pm

Hi Yanuf,

Adversity offered a good response to your question, so I need not add to it.

However, just to clear up any confusion which might occur when others read your post, there is nothing in any of the Regulations which says that an injury pension can be 'fixed' at any point.

An injury pension is though, in a sense, 'fixed' when it is first granted. That is, final decisions are made on these questions:

Whether the person concern in disabled.

Whether the disablement is likely to be permanent.

Whether the disablement is the result of an injury received in the execution of duty

The degree of disablement.

All these are final decisions, subject only to appeal to a PMAB, under regulation 31 of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006, or to reconsideration under provision of regulation 32-(2) of the same Regulations.

There are time limits on making an appeal, but no time limit on utilising regulation 32-(2). In your case this will be of academic interest only, as neither you not your police pension authority (PPA) are likely to want to contest the original decisions made when your injury award was granted in 2001.

However, under regulation 37 a PPA has a wide power of discretion over whether or when it might consider if your degree of disablement has altered. Only if there is good reason to believe it has altered substantially can the PPA then ask a duly qualified medical practitioner to decide if there has been any alteration, and if so, if it is a substantial one. Clearly, the disabling effects of a duty injury may worsen or improve over time, and if the alteration is substantial, then the pension may be reviewed and revised accordingly. It cannot be ceased, as Adversity has made clear.

Degree of disablement is the extent to which a person's capacity to work and thus earn has been affected by the disablement caused by duty injury. Regulation 7-(5) tell us that, 'Where it is necessary to determine the degree of a person’s disablement it shall be determined by reference to the degree to which his earning capacity has been affected as a result of an injury received without his own default in the execution of his duty as a member of a police force.'

Please note that it the capacity which needs to alter, not your earned income. It matters not a jot whether you earn or not, decide to work or decide to not work, or earn a big salary or a pittance. The test is of the disablement itself, and how that inhibits one's ability to do paid work.

Most forces are not actively reviewing injury pensions at present, but circumstances can change. I regret to say that any promise or recommendation which was made that your injury pension would not be reviewed in future has no legal standing and is not enforceable. BUT, a PPA cannot hold a review on a whim. It must have good reason to do so. Forces like Avon and Somerset are acting unlawfully when they announce they intend to review all injury pensions. A decision to hold a review must be an individual consideration, an application of mind. to an individual person and individual circumstances.

I mentioned above that the PPA has a power of discretion over reviews. There is no obligation on a force to do more that to 'consider' from time to time, at such intervals as may be suitable (suitable to promoting the scope and purpose of the Regulations) whether degree of disablement has altered. The Home Office has confirmed, repeatedly, that a PPA may decide not to review an individual or a particular group of individuals at any time in future. The matter needs to have been considered, and the decision made that there is unlikely to be a point in future where it will be appropriate to review.

A PPA may decide, for example, not to review pensions which are in band one, or pensions paid to people who have had several reviews with no alteration in degree of disablement. Or that someone with an injury which is unlikely to show any improvement need not have their injury pension reviewed. Without knowing you circumstances, it may be that your PPA will be content to follow the recommendation/promise made that you will face no further reviews.

There is no absolute certainty in this though and I have to say that it is a flaw in the Regulations which the drafters never considered. Perhaps they never thought that the day would come when some forces would try to twist the Regulations so as to try to save money - that some Chief Constables would be so lacking in any moral fibre that they could turn on disabled former officers and attempt to emulate Robert Maxwell and raid the pensions of people to help prop up their little empires.

I'll finish on a positive note. So far, all attempts to subvert, ignore, or construct fanciful imaginative interpretations of the Regulations have not succeeded. Pensioners are now well organised, have excellent communications across the country, are much more knowledgeable, less gullible, and have ready access to excellent, expert legal support and representation. Enjoy your retirement as best you can despite your injury and know that should you ever need to contest any maladministration by your force, you won't need to do so alone.

Urtica

Posts : 39
Join date : 2015-01-24

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Re: When, if at all, is my injury award fixed?

Post by yanuf on Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:51 pm

Hi.

Apologies for the delay in offering my thanks for the above, I have been a bit unwell and not able to use a computer.
So: If I am reading this correctly (not a given I assure you), then I may be reviewed but my injury pension can never be withdrawn?
If I were judged to have a reduced level of disability is there a lower limit? I.e. bottoming out at band one, or can my pension be reduced to zero, but nominally still exist.
Thanks again.
Y

yanuf

Posts : 2
Join date : 2015-09-01

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Re: When, if at all, is my injury award fixed?

Post by Urtica on Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:56 pm

Hi Yanuf,

My turn to apologise for the long delay in replying to you.

I am going to send you a private message and ask you to email me.

Meanwhile, for the record, an injury pension can not be ceased, except where the recipient is convicted of treason! I'm not joking. Once granted, it is yours for life.

Yes, the amount paid can be revised, but only where it has been decided by a duly qualified medical practitioner appointed by a police pension authority that your degree of disablement has substantially altered. That could of course be a case of worsening or improvement.

Band one covers the range of degree of disablement from 0% to 25% so even if you were 0% then you would still get the band one level of payment.

However, there is a fly in the ointment. Some forces, surprisingly, don't follow the rules. They can't seem to understand the Regulations which govern injury pensions. They make mistakes. Sometimes they do this out of ignorance and sometimes deliberately.

I will be better able to advise you when you email me.

Urtica

Urtica

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Join date : 2015-01-24

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