Mesothelioma & Asbestos Related Disease Benefit Claims

Ashtons Legal specialist asbestos team is extremely experienced in supporting clients with legal advice and submitting benefit applications to ensure both you and your family receive all the benefits you are entitled to claim through the Department for Work and Pensions.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) *figures correct as of March 2019

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma you are entitled to receive up to £174.80 per week for your lifetime.  This will be backdated up to 13 weeks from your date of diagnosis.

Ashtons Legal will complete and send off an application form on your behalf.  All victims of mesothelioma and asbestos related diseases are entitled to lump sum payments from the Department for Work and Pensions provided they have not already received compensation in a civil legal claim.

Our trained team are able to guide you through the benefit process.

There are two separate schemes for mesothelioma suffers:

  • the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 (the 1979 Act)
  • the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme (the 2008 Scheme)

For any person diagnosed with Mesothelioma on or after 1 April 2010 payments under both schemes will be the same.  This is because payments under the 2008 Scheme have been increased to the same levels under the 1979 Act after Government lobbying.

Payments under the 2008 Scheme are unconditional and is often the best scheme for mesothelioma suffers and their families to use.

What is the difference between the 1979 Act and the 2008 Scheme?

The 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme is designed to provide payments of the lump sums to all suffers from diffuse mesothelioma, provided compensation has not been paid during a civil legal claim.

Unlike the 1979 Act which only compensates victims exposed to asbestos as a result of their employment in comparison under the 2008 Scheme you must show that there is evidence to show that:

  • the victim suffers from diffuse mesothelioma
  • that they were exposed to asbestos in the UK
  • that the claim is made within one year of diagnosis
  • within one year of the date of death if made by a dependant.

Under the 2008 Scheme all individuals who are not eligible for the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 benefit who were exposed to asbestos in the UK can claim if the exposure from asbestos

  • came through a family member e.g washing their clothes
  • whilst being self employed
  • where the victim is unsure where the exposure occurred.

The 2008 payment ensures that every victim and suffer of asbestos related mesothelioma can receive a government age tariff based award.

In contrast, the 1979 Act award is only available where you have been exposed to asbestos by your employment and you are already receiving industrial injuries disablement benefit.

As with all government schemes the time limits are strict and generally applications must be submitted within 12 months of diagnosis or within 12 months of the patient’s death.

On occasion these time limits can be challenged but it is important to submit benefit applications as soon as possible.

What do I need to do?

Your solicitor will complete the application forms together with you on your behalf.

You will need to provide basic information including your name, address, date of birth, national insurance number, where you worked (often this may be unclear until receipt of the HMRC schedule of employment), your bank details and confirmation that you have not received any compensation already.

Soon after your solicitor submits the benefit application you will receive a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions explaining the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) you are entitled to and payments will be paid straight in to your bank account either on a weekly or monthly basis.

Once the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is awarded you will receive notification of any lump sum award that you may be eligible for.  This will also be paid directly in to your bank account.  The award letters will explain the decision regarding the lump sum payment and payment can take up to 21 days.

Is this different to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) award?

Yes the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) is a different government award.

You can still seek a government DMPS award where no insurers are located even after a 1979 act or 2008 payment has been obtained.  The only difference being that if you have already received a lump sum award or industrial injuries disablement benefit, the sums paid to you will be deducted from the DMPS tariff award. The DMPS award is based on your age at date of diagnosis.

Mesothelioma and other asbestos related benefits explained.

IIDB benefit and its effect on other benefits.

You are still entitled to industrial injuries disablement benefit if:

  • you are in employment
  • in receipt of your state pension
  • in respect of employment and support allowance
  • in receipt of incapacity benefit contribution based job seekers allowance.

Other benefits we can assist you in claiming:

  • attendance allowance (AA) over 65
  • constant attendance allowance
  • exceptional severe disablement allowance
  • Personal independence payment (PIP) under age 65.

Both AA and PIP are dependent on a needs based assessment.  After the assessment of your disability the Department for Work and Pension will send you payments in accordance with their assessment of your condition.

As of March 2019 AA rates range between £57.30 per week up to £85.60 per week.

Do I need to return any of these payments?

The compensation recovery unit is an arm of the Department for Work and Pensions.  If you are successful in your civil legal claim, the Defendant will be entitled to refund the government any benefits you have received at the conclusion of your claim, therefore you will not directly be required to pay anything back to the Department for Work and Pensions the Defendant insurers will.

If however you are unable to make a civil legal claim you will continue to receive any benefits you are eligible for and there will be no obligation to refund any payments to the government.  You will continue to receive all of your benefits for life and your industrial injuries disablement benefit award may be reassessed and increased if it is possible to do so i.e. if your condition worsens.

The Compensation Recovery Unit provide a certificate of recoverable benefits.  This is an account of all of the payments that have been made to you.  When your solicitor sends you a copy of this CRU certificate it is important to check the amounts and if there is ever any dispute appeals can be made to the Department for Work and Pensions.

As benefit application forms are notoriously difficult to navigate it is important that you speak with a trained benefit adviser or one of our specialist solicitors.

We routinely apply for benefits as do many of our colleagues in other personal injury teams.

Our client liaison managers, Caroline Trinder and Gillian Webber, also have access to relevant forms and benefit advisors and we are able to assist with this along with disabled blue badge parking applications and access for other statutory services.

Many people do not appreciate they are able to claim Attendance Allowance (over age 65)  if they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or a condition that affects their quality of life and ability to live independently at home. We routinely secure this benefit for our clients.

Deductions from my civil legal compensation

Where there has been a successful claim for mesothelioma or another asbestos related disease sometimes there can be deductions made from the special damages which are the financial losses incurred as a result of the illness.

Where there has been an award made for care provided e.g. by an external provider or gratuitously by a family member there can be deductions made from the care element of your personal independence payment/attendance allowance.

There also may be deductions for mobility e.g. where travel costs are included and these can also be deducted from any personal independence payment/mobility/attendance allowance awards to avoid any double recovery.

Constant attendance allowance rates as of February 2019 for exceptionally severe disablement is between £34.95 per week and £139.50 per week.

If you have any questions about the government benefits available and what you are entitled to or need assistance in making a claim, please get in touch with one of our asbestos team who will be more than happy to help.

We Can Help You

If you have any questions about the benefits available and what you are entitled to, or need assistance in making a claim, please get in touch with Martyn Hayward on 01223 431112 or Phoebe Osborne on 01223 431159.