Disability / Ill Health Retirement

Outline of Scheme

A teacher who has given at least 5 years of pensionable service, and who can satisfy the Department of Education and Skills that owing to disability of mind or body, they are permanently incapacitated from carrying on work as a teacher, may be awarded a Disability Pension and Lump sum. (Teachers with less than 5 years pensionable service, who by reason of ill-health are unable to continue teaching may be awarded a once off Disablement Gratuity).

Applications to retire on disability must be made to the Primary Teachers’ Pensions Section, Department of Education and Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath on a special application form available from the Department. Applicants will have to submit medical evidence in support of the application. In certain circumstances the Minister for Education and Skills may require the teacher to submit him/herself for examination to the Department’s Occupational Health Scheme. Medmark Occupational Health is the current provider. The application forms can be found on the Department of Education website here.

Applications for retirement on grounds of disability should be submitted to the Department a number of weeks before paid sick leave expires.

Members are welcome to discuss their case with their Benefit Funds Committee Representative, CEC Representative or with staff in INTO Head Office. (Teachers who are members of the Salary Protection Scheme and who are retiring on grounds of disability should also make application to Cornmarket Group Financial Services approximately eight weeks before paid sick leave expires).

Where retirement on grounds of ill health is approved, additional pensionable credit may be allowed for the purposes of calculating pension and lump sum.

Disability pensions to teachers under 50 years of age may be reviewed at intervals of 2/3 years. Teachers may resume service if certified medically fit.

Teachers who retire on disability are advised to maintain cover for Social Welfare benefits: (i.e. Widow/Widower’s Contributory Pension, Orphan’s Contributory Allowance, Occupational Injuries Benefit, Bereavement Grant, Carer’s Benefit and Lone Parent’s Benefit). A medical certificate submitted to the Department of Social Welfare annually will ensure that credited contributions are recorded in the teacher’s name and entitlement to benefit will be maintained.

The certificates should be submitted until the last tax year prior to a teacher’s 66th birthday.

Teachers retiring on disability are not, under the circumstances, required to give three months’ notice to their Management Board.

Teachers in receipt of a disability pension may not be employed in any capacity in a national school.

Calculating Entitlement

The calculation of lump sum and pension in the case of teachers who retire due to disability is based on actual years of pensionable service, multiplied by ‘retiring salary’; and divided by 80, plus additional pensionable credit where applicable. The amount of added service allowed varies depending on the length of actual pensionable service given by the teacher and her/his age at retirement.

The following is a summary of the scale of ‘added years’ allowed:

  • Teachers with between 5 and 10 years service may be credited with an equivalent amount of pensionable service (i.e. double the amount of actual service will be allowed)
  • Teachers with between 10 and 20 years service may be credited with the more favourable of (a) the difference between actual service and 20 years or (b) an additional 6 years and 243 days (i.e. 6 and 2/3 years).
  • A teacher with more than 20 years’ service may be credited with 6 and 2/3 years of added service.*
  • Any member who retires on Ill-Health Retirement while currently in a Job Sharing arrangement may have their potential “added years” calculated on a pro-rata basis.

* Teachers retiring on disability will only be granted added years to bring the total length of recognised service up to 40 years or age 60 (whichever is reached first). For example, a teacher at 55 years of age and with 35 years of pensionable service would only be allowed an additional 5 years added.

Should a teacher awarded credit return to the service, such credit will cease to be part of pensionable service. Should however, the teacher retire again or die in the service and again be eligible for added years, and should service then reckonable for pension purposes (including the later credit) be less than the service on which the original disability pension had been based, then such earlier service will be computed by reference to such greater period of pensionable service.

Salary Protection Scheme (Cornmarket)

Scheme members should be aware of the benefits under the INTO Salary Protection Scheme for those contemplating an application for Disability/Ill-Health retirement. Please contact the Scheme Administrators, Cornmarket  https://www.cornmarket.ie/contact-us/

Useful Links and Downloads


Full details of the Occupational Health System are included in the Standard Operating Procedure Manual – Circular 0065/2008 (PDF) – Introduction of Occupational Health Service for Teachers

Updated 4 July 2023

Still have questions?

Submit your query by email to INTO. Please include your payroll or membership number.