TPO upholds complaint against British Airways Health Services

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has ordered British Airways Health Services (BAHS) to reconsider its decision not to award a New Airways Pension Scheme member and BA pilot ill health retirement benefits.

Within 28 days, BAHS has to take steps to obtain additional evidence from the complainant’s doctors after the complainant, Mr S, was deemed unfit to return to work by BAHS due to his diagnosed Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

BAHS will provide Mr S and BA with its reconsidered decision within 28 days of the receipt of the additional evidence, explaining its reasons and the evidence it is relying upon.

Furthermore, BAHS has been ordered to pay Mr S £500 for the significant non-financial injustice arising from its failure to reach a decision in his case in “a proper manner”.

BA had initially authorised the scheme administrators to pay Mr S an ill health retirement pension on 4 August 2017.

On 21 August 2017, BA wrote to Mr S saying that it has received the paperwork for the termination of his employment “on the grounds of medical incapacity” and paid him a lump sum of £192,188 under the British Airways Pilot Officers Loss of Licence Scheme.

However, following an appointment with a BAHS doctor, it was concluded that Mr S did not meet the criteria for ill health retirement.

BA therefore informed the administrators that the authorisation to pay Mr S ill health benefits had been issued in error and were halted from 1 November 2017.

TPO has ordered BAHS to reconsider this decision while taking into account Rule 14 of the scheme rules, which requires BAHS to come to an opinion on whether Mr S was likely to return to flying within two years of the cessation of his employment with BA.

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