Ill Health Retirement – Further High Court Update – 31 August 2021
Please note that an earlier version of this article contained the incorrect helpline number. It has now been updated. If you have any queries about the proposed settlement, please call 0800 197 6923.
As members may recall, a hearing is due take place in the High Court over two days from (or shortly after) 11 October 2021. This is in relation to settlement of a case about the ill-health early retirement (“IHER”) benefits paid by the Fund.
The issues in the case relate to whether IHER benefits paid by the Fund from 1985 onwards were validly introduced and the legal effect of various subsequent changes to those benefits. In particular, from 1991, certain IHER benefits were reduced or suspended, and from 8 October 1993, no further IHER pensions were provided to members leaving service after that date.
The Trustee is pleased to report that the parties have now agreed the detailed settlement terms. However, they remain subject to Court approval. They will be considered by the Judge for approval at the hearing in October, and the Judge will only approve the settlement if it is considered to be in the overall interests of both the members and the employers.
Further information about the proposed settlement is set out in a letter which is in the process of being sent to all members. A copy of that letter is available by clicking here.
The key thing that you need to do now, if you are not in receipt of an IHER pension but think you might be affected, is keep safe any relevant records that you have (see section 10: “Your records” in the letter).
In summary, the Trustee strongly recommends that, where possible, if you were in service on 8 October 1993 (even if you were in between ships on that date), you retain any medical and employment history and/or details about your past health. This is particularly around the time of leaving Merchant Navy service as a rating. If you are incapable of doing so or are the survivor of a member who was in service on 8 October 1993, the Trustee recommends that the family/survivors/estates of the member retain any relevant details and/or records.
We will write to members again once the outcome of the Court hearing is known and some post-hearing steps have taken place. This will probably be in November 2021.
There will also be updates posted from time to time on the members’ website. In particular, when we have further details about the arrangements for the hearing, we will put an update on the members’ website. This will probably be in early October.
If you would like more information about the proposed settlement, you can call our trained helpline agents on the freephone helpline below. This is a dedicated phone line for this case.
Helpline freephone number: 0800 197 6923
The helpline agents are only able to explain the proposed settlement in general terms as described in the letter and enclosed Summary. They are not able to provide any views or advice about the expected outcome in your particular case e.g. whether you will qualify and, if so, what compensation you might receive.
You can also write to us or email us at the address below. Again, we are not able to provide any views or advice about the expected outcome in your particular case.
Our address for enquiries by post is:
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund
c/o Mercer Employee Benefits
Post Handling Centre U
St James’s Tower
7 Charlotte Street
Our email address for enquiries is: email@example.com