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Asbestos exposure can lead to a devastating illness like mesothelioma. If you've been diagnosed, you may be eligible for financial benefits from the government and potentially compensation from your former employer.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (‘IIDB’)

One of the benefits you will be entitled to if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma is IIDB. You can be awarded up to £221.50 per week (as of June 2024) from the Department for Work and Pensions for this benefit, and payments will be backdated to the date the disease was diagnosed if you are awarded the highest rate of IIDB.

In addition to the above, all victims of mesothelioma disease are entitled to lump-sum payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (‘DWP’) provided they have not already received compensation in a civil legal claim.

There are two separate schemes for mesothelioma sufferers:

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

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

The 2008 payment ensures that every victim and sufferer of mesothelioma can receive a government-age tariff-based award, whereas 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.

Under the 2008 Scheme, you must show that there is evidence to support 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.

In addition, under the 2008 Scheme, victims 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.

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.

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

Yes, the DMPS is a different government award.

The DMPS is intended to be a payment of last resort for people with mesothelioma who were negligently exposed to asbestos at work but are unable to pursue a civil claim because their former employer no longer exists and their former employer’s insurers cannot be traced.

Any lump sum awarded under the 1979 Act, 2008 Scheme, or IIDB already paid to you will be deducted from the DMPS tariff award.

Additional Support

There may be other benefits you are entitled to depending on your clinical and welfare circumstances at the time of claiming, which we can assist you with.

For instance, if you are awarded IIDB as you have been exposed to asbestos through your employment, this can lead to an award of additional allowances such as:

  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance.

You may qualify for disability benefits such as:

  • Personal Independence Payment (for people of working age)
  • Attendance Allowance (for people of state retirement age)
  • Carers Allowance for your loved ones who may be caring for you
  • ‘Blue Badge’ (disabled parking permit).

If you find yourself struggling to afford to live or pay your rent whilst waiting for compensation, we can also assist you with claiming welfare benefits such as Universal Credit if you are of working age or Pension Credit if you are of state retirement age.

Do I need to return any of these payments?

The Compensation Recovery Unit (‘CRU’) is part of the DWP. If you are successful in your civil legal claim, the Defendant insurer will be obliged to refund the government any relevant benefits you have received at the conclusion of your claim and deduct this from your compensation. You will not directly be required to pay anything back to the DWP yourself, 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.

Important to know

Time limits apply: Generally, applications for government benefits must be submitted within one year of diagnosis.

Compensation may affect benefits: If you receive a successful civil claim, the awarded amount may impact some ongoing benefits.