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Some people choose to give up work completely when they are diagnosed with cancer. This allows them to focus on the cancer, its treatment and other aspects of their lives.
If work has been the major focus of your life it can be difficult to adjust to not working. It may help to talk to someone about your feelings, such as a close family member or friend. Or you may find it helpful to talk to someone outside your social circle, such as a counsellor.
You’ll need to think carefully about the effect giving up work will have on your finances. It’s important to get advice from an independent financial adviser|. You need to consider the money you will receive from a state, occupational or private pension|, and from any other sources such as savings, shares or benefits.
If you give up work you also give up the rights that are associated with your employment, such as occupational sick pay, Statutory Sick Pay|, pension rights and occupation-linked private medical insurance.
If you want to take early retirement on health grounds or for personal reasons, it’s essential to take advice from your pension administrator. You may be able to take early payment of your pension on the grounds of ill health, but this will depend on the rules of your own particular pension scheme. You may have several options to consider.
Drawing on an occupational pension for health reasons can mean that you receive a higher amount of pension. However, if you choose to retire early but are medically fit to work, the level of your pension may be lowered.
Your scheme may not allow you to retire early if you are fit to work. The provisions vary between schemes. Consider your own circumstances before deciding on a final settlement.
Getting advice from an independent financial adviser about the various options open to you may help you get a higher income from your pension.
You may need to decide between a large lump-sum payment plus a small monthly income, or a small lump-sum payment plus a large monthly income.
If you’re claiming Employment and Support Allowance|, this may be reduced if you receive payments of more than a certain amount per week from either a pension or health insurance scheme.
Content last reviewed: 1 May 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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