A SCOT forced to end his career early because of a debilitating illness that will likely kill him has called on the UK Government to allow the terminally ill to draw their state pensions before retirement age.

Grandfather-of-four Ian Bain, 62, was forced into early retirement because of motor neurone disease (MND) after paying into the system over a career spanning 41 years – but still isn’t allowed to claim his pension because of UK rules which don’t exist in many other European countries.

Unlike in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Britons are unable to draw their state pension before the official retirement age – even if they have been forced out of work due to terminal illness.

Ian, from Forfar, Angus, worked as a butcher from the age of 17, before changing career after nearly two decades in the trade to become an environmental health technician with Aberdeenshire council.

He was diagnosed with MND – which last year claimed the life of former Scotland rugby player Doddie Weir – in 2014 and managed to keep working until he became too sick four years later.

The National:

Before his diagnosis, Ian was incredibly fit and competed in triathlons across the UK and also played rugby, his wife Carol said.

Because Ian left work before the age of 66, he is unable to claim £203.85 per week, leaving him £10,600 a year worse off than if the UK followed the European example.

Speaking via email because his condition has left him virtually unable to talk, Ian told The National he felt the UK Government was profiting from its policy.

READ MORE: Scotland rugby legend Doddie Weir dies aged 52 after MND battle

He said: “As my MND gets worse, my needs increase to the point my wife has had to retire to look after me – this resulting loss in earnings has obviously had a great impact on our budget and had I had access to my state pension it would have helped.”

Carol, 58, has had to leave her role as the head of the health and social care department at Dundee and Angus College because Ian needs her care.

She said that Ian is on an annual income of around £20,000 before tax from a combination of his work pensions scheme, Employment and Support Allowance from the UK Government and the Scottish Government’s Adult Disability Payment.

“It’s been difficult, don’t get me wrong,” said Carol. “It’s not been easy.”

The couple are helped by their two grown-up children and occasionally have access to money from the charity MND Scotland, which provides them with “quality time grants”.

Ian said he wanted to raise the issue because he felt others were being “robbed” of what they should be entitled to.

“I know the chance of the UK changing the policy on terminally ill citizens in what’s left of my life are slim or even zero but hopefully with the help of the media, it might highlight this unjust issue where thousands of terminally ill people are robbed of their pension,” he said.

The National: SNP candidate for Abroath Dave Doogan, as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets voters and activists in Abroath. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 16, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Election. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA

Angus MP Dave Doogan (above) raised the case with the UK Government during a Westminster Hall debate in May.

The SNP MP told The National: “This is truly disgraceful and miserly behaviour by the UK Government and HMRC in particular.

“HMRC obfuscate their responsibility to terminally ill people who are younger than their pension age by citing Department for Work and Pension supports which are time-consuming, slow and often wholly inadequate.

“What people who have paid into their state pension their whole lives need is for that social contract to be honoured by the UK Government when it becomes clear they will not live long enough to enjoy their retirement.

“A terminal prognosis is, for those affected and their families, traumatic enough without the UK Government heaping unnecessary penury on top of the inevitable distress.”

Responding for the Government in the debate in May, Pensions Minister Laura Trott told MPs it would be “impossible” for the UK Government to create exemptions to a universal state pension age which would be fair on everyone.

She said: “We are aware that when and why people leave the labour market will vary and will be affected by a host of factors, including their national insurance record, savings, health, caring responsibilities and other factors.

“It would be impossible to take account of all those factors in setting the state pension age or to create rules for one particular group that would be fair to others.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “A terminal diagnosis is an unimaginable challenge and our priority is providing people with financial support quickly and compassionately.

“Those nearing the end of their lives can get fast-track access to a range of benefits without needing a face-to-face assessment or waiting period, with the majority receiving the highest rate of those benefits.”