FND critical illness insurance and pension claim

Hi all.
All help very greatly received. 
Sorry it's long.its my dodgy brain. 
I have 2 questions regarding help after FND Functional Neurological Disorder diagnosis 2 years ago. Someone recently suggested checking my insurance as my ill health has contributed to being in a difficult financial situation. I have had life and critical illness insurance with Scottish provident for about 18+ years.
I have since  developed  ME/CFS, IBS, severe anxiety and depression and FND Functional Neurological Disorder (diagnosed summer 2020).
I lost my job 3 years ago after 7 months off sick and was forced to take 'voluntary ' redundancy after some difficult and stressful behaviour by HR and a new manager, but the company went into insolvency the next day and before I could receive the enhanced redundancy payment so ended up being made redundant with the rest of the employees and I lost the package that was promised to me. That was March 2020 as covid was the final nail in the company coffin. 
For a long time I deluded myself that I'd get another job but my brain disorder had unknowingly taken hold.After a significant degree of apathy from my GP surgery I finally was admitted to hospital and eventually diagnosed with FND in summer 2020 but never got offered an appointment with a neurologist after that so floundered for ages. My mixing pot of disabilities makes it incredibly difficult to achieve the smallest of tasks.so Ihavehad to acceptthat working is unrealistic when I struggle to leavethe bed or operate a spoon..
Q1. Does anyone know of any cases where critical illness insurance has paid out for FND?
Even the thought of claiming is paralysing me and I don't have anyone who knows about insurance to help me with forms or phone calls. I can't consistently think or speak so that's a hurdle. 
Q2. I previously worked (prior to last job) for BT for 20 years and similarly had to take voluntary redundancy after being off on long term sick. My role ended and I wasn't up to taking another new one after changing a while before due to a bullying manager. Would my pension offer any sort of early payout for ill health at all? I am approaching 50. 
Many thanks 


  • NlghtOwlNlghtOwl Forumite
    30 Posts
    10 Posts
    Sorry to hear your difficulties, not familiar with that particular illness but here are my thoughts:
    Q1. CI documents usually list the illnesses covered, which will give you a good idea to start with. If it isn’t listed you may find it difficult but worth contacting them.
    Q2. If you can’t work unlikely to improve and you have the medical evidence to support  it is worth pursuing an ill health early retirement claim. Again, contact them and they will advise. The bottom line is that you have to provide overwhelming proof you cannot work and make it difficult to refuse.
    Good luck 
  • CyclamenCyclamen Forumite
    626 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker

    Hello Ruby

    I am sorry to say you may need to prepare for a fight. 

    From my own experience.. my diagnosis (M.E) was not listed as qualifying for critical illness cover and I was told the policy would not pay out, this message was loud and clear repeatedly over a couple of years. 

    The wording in my policy I claimed under was 'total permanent disability' a bit of an awful statement to have applied to oneself.. the insurance company had to be satisfied I would not recover.  That is tricky to prove and it was up to me to prove it.  With the lack of research around M.E (and FND) it can make things very tricky.  So you may need a medical letter and consultant who will stand by you. (I was blessed by an excellent Dr).  The insurance company also sent their own independnet doctor out to my home to assess me.  It was an awful time not knowing if i would lose my home having lost my health and ability to work already. 

    But the insurance company did agree to pay out my policy which cleared the mortgage.  That has been a huge help as no matter what else goes on i will have a home.  I very much wish I had also had income protection insurance i didnt its just not something i knew about back then. 

    I hope you have success. 
  • Ruby2468Ruby2468 Forumite
    3 Posts
    First Post
    Thanks for the advice NlghtOwl and Cyclamen. 
    I really appreciate it. 
    Sadly I have given up completely on my GP surgery as multiple staff there were so dismissive and rude. Really quite patronising and hurtful. I have no support whatsoever or anyone to turn to, to ask for evidence. I have a good report written by someone in the FND service but it is now 2 years old.
    I am going to try and register to a different gp surgery but have been told there is a local arrangement that can block patients transferring. 
    It is really encouraging that you got your insurance payout Cyclamen. I am so pleased for you. I know how hard that must have been. 
    Do you think any particular evidence helped you to convince them that your symptoms met their criteria? 
  • CyclamenCyclamen Forumite
    626 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Good morning Ruby 

    The first thing i did was read all the policy documents very carefully.. see if there is a clause for disabilities/ diagnosis that are not named.  It was total permanent disability for my insurance company so i then looked for a definition for that.  A lot of small print to read.  But for me I needed to see if there was any point me even trying.

    Medical evidence.. that's tricky.  I don't think GP's are considered to have enough specialist knowledge sadly.. for me it was a consultant specialising in my diagnosis.  The NHS often has specialist clinics (with ver long waiting lists).  My consultant was willing to support my insurance claim and worded things to fit the policy.. it was absolutely true, but very very hard to read and i still dont look at that letter nearly 15 years on.  

    You may need to go back to your FND clinic or if its possible i've known people pay out privateley to see a specialist to get reports.  Its worth looking for what the key wording is for your policy and letting the consultant know what it is and asking them if they think you would be eligible. 

    Have a look at the FND  and ME charities and see what info they have available.. find info on prognosis and so on.  

    The letter mentioned above is the evidence i needed.. then the insurance companies medic (a very well known high up doctor in my condition field) also had to agree.. 

    There are 'no win no fee' solicitors who specialise in disability and ill health who will help.. I decided to go it alone as long possible as the cut they took if successful would have prevented me paying off my mortgage (even with downsizing which i did) but others in the community have used them.  

    I dont have any special skills.. just read the small print, took my time, researched my condition and was very fortunate to have an amazing Consultant who went out of his way to not only support me working out how to manage my diagnosis but also writing a letter to the insurance company that spelled out just what this disease does to my body. 

    I really hope you can find a way through this and get the insurance you've paid for all this time to pay out as it should.  
  • Ruby2468Ruby2468 Forumite
    3 Posts
    First Post
    Cyclamen, thank you so much for going to the trouble of sharing all that information. I can't tell you how it felt reading it. 
    I am literally typing in tears. It's been so demoralising trying to get help or to be heard at all for so many years and the number of medical staff that have invalidated my ill health (best description I can muster) they have left me feeling incredibly defeated and unworthy, disbelieved and malingering. 
    That you have helped me and your encouragement has really touched me. You sound very similar in approach to me.  I used to be methodical and tenacious but I don't recognise those traits in myself these days. My common sense seems to have dissolved along with a fair share of my brain function in general. 
    I read carefully what you said and you have given me hope and I am going be brave and do my best to make a claim. 
    Knowing it is possible to be heard by the insurance company makes it feel really much more positive. I am struggling to work out what I'm trying to convey because I'm not so good with my words anymore but I hope you can get the gist that I am incredibly grateful and I will take courage from your words. :)

  • CyclamenCyclamen Forumite
    626 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Ruby ..  apologies for delay replying .. hit a bit of a flare/crash here.

    There is a huge hidden community of us poory folk behind our keyboards who I ahve found incredibly supportive and full of info..but the most comforting experience I've had is from others who really 'get it' and whilst i wouldnt wish this on anyone its good to not feel alone.  Years back it was forums now its social media (i struggle a bit there) but its worth dipping your toe in various support groups as you really are not alone and people will care.

    I can nod along to all the 'unworthy of help', just pull yourself together comments too... even now despite all the research, science and evidence I can get comments from GP's that dont know me to 'just do more exercise, go for a walk'.. or 'we all get tired just push through'... its really cruel but bottom line is its bad science/ medicine /advice and they need to educate themselves..but yes it hurts

    I also suffer cognitive problems /disabilities now... after being quite academic. In fact if my brain and speech would work reliably as it once did i would be thrilled... i miss books and learning.  But take it slow and steady, and ask for help.  ou dont have to write with all the correct jargon, bullet points and short sentences and going slow are all good.

    I hear you... i could have written your post 15 years ago... 

    1) read policy and get definitions
    2) find FND and ME groups online for support. Ask the charities for any info they have on prognosis and ill health insurance
    3) medical evidence - contact your FND specialist and ask if they think you are eligible if so ask them to write a letter, if not ask them why then double check their science. eg one ME specialist from the insurance company dismissed my claim as 'they are just fat' .. thats when i weighed the same as i had done pre illness, swam, hiked, worked full time, socialised, and was very active!
    4) ring asking for info on ow to apply for the insurance under 'ill health' do not be put off by the person on the phone.
    5) go for it ;-) 

    good luck 

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