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Are you on sick leave?

Do you have entitlement to contractual sick pay or will it be statutory sick pay only?

When you are off sick, firstly check your contractual / statutory entitlements with your employer. If possible try to get dates of when any sick pay or entitlements will end.

If you are off sick, have a substantive contract, and have a certain amount of income per week, you will have entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for 28 weeks from your fourth day of sickness. Further details on eligibility can be found here.

If you have entitlement to ‘full’ contractual pay, your employer will use the SSP as a component part of your full pay. 

If you are on reduced contractual pay and still within the 28 week period, you will need to check if they will use the SSP as a component part or if they will pay it on top of your reduced pay. 

If you are on nil contractual pay, SSP will be the only payment you will receive.  

What happens when my SSP runds out?

If you are still signed unfit to work by a GP when SSP runs out following 28 weeks of payment, you may qualify to claim and earnings replacement benefit through the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). You would look to claim either Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

Eligibility and what you claim will depend on your national insurance contribution record, whether your postcode falls within an area that issues Universal Credit and your personal circumstances.

In order to apply for either benefit you will need to submit SSP1 Form to the DWP. Your employer should send you this form by the beginning of the 23rd week if your sickness is expected to extend beyond your entitlement to SSP. If you have not received your SSP by the 23rd week of receiving SSP you should follow up on this by contacting your employer.

More information on Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit can be found on the government's website here.

Check your benefit entitlement

If you are not employed, or your pay is reducing, check for possible benefit entitlement. 

Online calculators can be helpful, such as those on the Turn2us website or the Entitled To website. They will give you an idea of possible entitlements depending on your circumstance. 

You can also visit your local Job Centre or try calling them. Details on how to contact your local job centre can be found here.

Is PIP a consideration for you?

Personal Independence Payment provides an extra income to assist in meeting some of the extra costs of living with a disability or long term health condition.  

You are able to claim the benefit whether you are in or out of work as it is non means tested and is awarded on the basis of your ability to manage the tasks of everyday living. Qualification will depend on the extent to which your condition affects you. 

More information on Personal Independence Payment can be found here.

Facing the possibility of ill health retirement?

The RCN has advice on NHS ill health retirement application and appeal process. If you suffer from permanent ill health that affects your employment you may be facing the possibility of having to consider ill health retirement. The guide gives advice for before, during and after the application process.

Non-members can access a fact sheet on ill health retirement on the NHS Business Services Authority website.

For private pension schemes you will need to contact the scheme provider to establish the provisions and processes of that particular scheme.

Need further advice?

If you would like further advice on this subject, contact the lamplight team.

If you have an appointment booked with us, preparing will help you get the best from it.

0345 772 6100  

8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a  week

How to book an appointment

To speak with someone about the Lamplight service and schedule a telephone appointment:

  • RCN members can call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100;
  • Individuals not in RCN membership can call 0345 772 6200.

Lines are open 8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a week.

Before booking an appointment, have a look at our advice guides further up this page. You may find the answer to your query there without the need of an appointment.

How to prepare for an appointment

After you have booked an appointment we need you to complete the pre-appointment questionnaire. This will provide us with the information necessary to give you advice specific to your circumstances. Do not complete the questionnaire before booking an appointment.

At the time of your appointment make sure you are somewhere that you can receive a call and speak in confidence. We will text you a reminder of your appointment before your appointment. 

How to cancel an appointment

Please cancel your appointment if you can’t make it so someone else can have it. You can cancel by:

  • Replying “CANCEL” to the text message that you receive confirming the time of your appointment.
  • Emailing lamplight@rcn.org.uk with your name and time of appointment.

To rebook follow the instructions within “how to access the service” detailed above.

Pre-appointment questionnaire

Complete after you have booked your appointment.