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Snippet #6 – Injury Pensions At State Pension Age

Snippet #6 – Injury Pensions At State Pension Age
Injury Pensions At State Pension Age.

 

Reaching state pension age will have no affect on your injury pension. The injury pension is designed to compensate you for your loss of earning capacity due to the injury that you suffered whilst on duty. If you are still otherwise able to work at state pension age, then you will still have a loss of earning capacity to be compensated for.

The infamous Home Office circular 46/2004, suggested that at state pension age, the pensioner no longer had any earning capacity and the injury pension should be reduced to its lowest band.

Once a former officer receiving an injury pension reaches the age of 65 they will have reached their State Pension Age irrespective of whether they are male or female. The force then has the discretion, in the absence of a cogent reason otherwise, to advise the SMP to place the former officer in the lowest band of Degree of Disablement. At such a point the former officer would normally no longer be expected to be earning a salary in the employment market. A review at age 65 will normally be the last unless there are exceptional circumstances which require there to be a further review.

 

This advice was later deemed to be unlawful because a person cannot suddenly lose their ability to work overnight simply because they have reached state pension age (currently 65 and rising), or are in effect just a day older.

Of course, regulation 37(1) allows forces to review your injury pension if a suitable interval has passed, but this suitability is not dependent upon reaching any particular age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snippet #5 – The Qualifications Of A Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’)

Snippet #5 – The Qualifications Of A Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’)
The qualifications of a Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’).

 

The expression Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’) is referred to in the following regulations,

  • the Police Pension Regulations 1987
  • the Police Pension Regulations 2006
  • the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006
  • the Police Pension Regulations 2015

and is a term synonymous with the role of a “duly qualified medical practitioner”  which also appears in all of the aforementioned regulations.

The qualifications of an SMP were defined in HO Circular 21/2003 as follows,

Ideally, the SMP should be a Member or Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (MFOM or FFOM), or EEA equivalent. The minimum requirement should be that he or she is an Associate of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (AFOM) or EEA equivalent. Before appointment as SMP the police authority must provide the medical practitioner concerned with an induction programme and other training so that he or she has an understanding of what police service entails.

 

The Police Pension Regulations 2015 define “duly qualified medical practitioner” as follows,

“duly qualified medical practitioner” means a registered medical practitioner who holds—
(a) the minimum qualification of Associate of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine or the equivalent EEA qualification; or
(b) any other equivalent qualification acceptable to the scheme manager;

 

 

 

Snippet #4 – What is a H1?

Snippet #4 – What is a H1?

What is a H1?

The term H1 is regularly used when referring to injury awards, but what does it mean and where does it come from?

In simple terms, it refers to the certificate provided by the Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’) confirming the following questions,

  1. whether the person concerned is disabled
  2. whether the disablement is likely to be permanent
  3. whether the disablement is the result of an injury received in the execution of duty
  4. the degree of the person’s disablement

The mnemonic ‘H1’ derives from the Police Pension Regulations 1987,  which curiously used a system of letters and number to identify the various sections of the act. This is the section,

H1-(4) The decision of the selected medical practitioner on the questions referred to him under this Regulation shall be expressed in the form of a certificate and shall, subject to Regulations H2 and H3, be final.

Injury awards are now administered under The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006, and regulation 30 of replaces section H1, where instead of a certificate, a report is now provided,

30-(6) The decision of the selected medical practitioner on the question or questions referred to him under this regulation shall be expressed in the form of a report and shall, subject to regulations 31 and 32, be final.

That said, people often still refer to this report as a H1.

Snippet #3 – Referral to duly qualified medical practitioner

Snippet #3 – Referral to duly qualified medical practitioner

Referral to duly qualified medical practitioner

Before a Police Pension Authority (‘PPA’) may revise an injury pension during a ‘reassessment of injury pension‘ under regulation 37(1), they shall refer the question of ‘the degree of the person’s disablement‘ to a duly qualified medical practitioner, as confirmed in regulation  30(2)(d) –

30.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, the question whether a person is entitled to any, and if so what, awards under these Regulations shall be determined in the first instance by the police authority.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), where the police authority are considering whether a person is permanently disabled, they shall refer for decision to a duly qualified medical practitioner selected by them the following questions—



(d) the degree of the person’s disablement; and, if they are considering whether to revise an injury pension, shall so refer question (d) above.

 

What this means is, that whilst any paid employment the pensioner is performing may be considered by the Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’) as an indication to their current level of disability, it does not allow non medical staff, regardless of their rank or role to recalculate a new level of disability based on their income, and therefore a new band.

 

 

Snippet #2 – Suitable Interval

Snippet #2 – Suitable Interval

Suitable Interval

Before a review, or a “reassessment of injury pension” can take place under regulation 37(1),the Police Pension Authority (‘PPA’) must firstly consider whether a suitable interval has elapsed. This is the first part of Regulation 37(1) –

37.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, where an injury pension is payable under these Regulations, the police authority shall, at such intervals as may be suitable…

 

A suitable interval is not defined in the regulations, but was touched upon in ‘The Queen on the Application of Turner v The Police Medical Appeal Board’

para 23 – There is no question of relitigation and, of course, suitable intervals suggests that this is not a matter which should be revisited every year, nor is it.

 

Each case should be considered on its own merits as to whether a suitable interval has passed. In our view, it may be, due to the severity of a pensioners injury, that a suitable interval may be determined as ‘never’.

 

 

Snippet #1 – Comparison Exercise

Snippet #1 – Comparison Exercise

Comparison Exercise

The regulation used to review an existing award is 37(1). A review, or a “reassessment of injury pension” to be more accurate is a comparison exercise from the date of your award, or your last review to the present day. This is confirmed in the case of Metropolitan Police Authority v Laws & Anor [2010]

para 18 – So much is surely confirmed by the terms of Regulation 37(1), under which the police authority (via the SMP/Board) are to “consider whether the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered”. The premise is that the earlier decision as to the degree of disablement is taken as a given; and the duty – the only duty – is to decide whether, since then, there has been a change: “substantially altered”, in the words of the Regulation. The focus is not merely on the outturn figure, but on the substance of the degree of disablement.

 

This means that the SMP has to identify a substantial alteration in the pensioners disability from the last assessment. A fresh assessment just based on the here and now is not permitted.