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Document What is the HMRC Severe Ill Health Condition (SIHC) test?

The SIHC test is a more stringent assessment than the NHS Pension Scheme’s Tier 2 ill health test. The main differences are:

  • Tier 2 is tested to normal pension age (NPA) in the 1995/2008 NHS Pension Scheme or 2015 NHS Pension Scheme while the SIHC is tested to State Pension Age (SPA).
  • Tier 2 is for any employment of like duration while the SIHC is for any other paid work.
If you make an application for Tier 2 ill health our medical advisers will let us know if you meet the SIHC criteria. If you do not meet the SIHC criteria, this will not affect your Tier 2 ill health benefits.
There is no pension growth in the tax year in which you meet the SIHC test.
You meet the SIHC criteria if you become entitled to your full, unreduced NHS Pension Scheme benefits before State Pension Age because you are unlikely do any gainful work in any capacity, other than in an insignificant way.
This means you would be unable to continue in your current job and not likely to be able to take any other paid work to a significant extent.
You may be able to undertake voluntary work or unpaid work where out of pocket expenses are reimbursed or small amounts of travelling or subsistence payments are made. Any paid work should be insignificant, for example it should be infrequent or only for a few days during the year and the payment must be small in amount, not just as a proportion of previous pay or salary.
Guidance on the SIHC test can be found on HMRC’s Pensions Tax Manual, page PTM051200.
HMRC SIHC test, sihc test
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