In November 1994 Mrs Richardson was forced to take extended sick leave from her school suffering from stress and depression. It was soon clear that her health had broken down to such an extent that she would have to retire prematurely.
Too ill to handle her own financial affairs, her husband set about negotiating her settlement only to find that she had been advised to set up a personal pension scheme in 1989 and transfer out her accrued benefits from the TSS. The Richardsons called in her union, the ATL, which immediately took up her case with Abbey Life. In December 1995, just before her sick pay ran out, Abbey Life restored her service in the TSS, which involved a transfer of Pounds 10, 900. She was then granted ill-health retirement benefits by the Teachers' Pensions Agency.
Mrs Richardson says: "The whole process took quite a long time. I was too ill to cope. We were always waiting for correspondence. If it wasn't for my husband I don't know where I would be."