All victims of mesothelioma are entitled to a prompt lump sum payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provided they have not already received compensation in a civil claim.
The DWP pays these lump sums to sufferers under two schemes, but the amounts are the same:
- The Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (the 1979 Act)
- The 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme (the 2008 Scheme)
Since payments under the 2008 scheme are unconditional, it is the better scheme for mesothelioma sufferers and their families to use.
2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme
This scheme is designed to provide prompt payment of a lump sum to all sufferers from diffuse mesothelioma, provided compensation has not been received in a civil claim or DMPS payment. Its wide scope contrasts with that of the 1979 Act under which only victims exposed to asbestos as an employee are eligible for a payment, and, even then, only if certain conditions are fulfilled.
The qualifying criteria for the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme are:
- There must be evidence to show that the victim suffers from diffuse mesothelioma
- The mesothelioma sufferer must have been exposed to asbestos in the UK
- The claim must have been made within one year of diagnosis or, in the case of a claim being made by a dependant, within one year of the date of death.
Application after death
Partners and dependants can make the claim. The payments awarded are lower if an application is made after death. Therefore, it is usually advisable to apply whilst the sufferer is alive because, even if the DWP only processes the application after death, payment is made at the higher “living basis” rate.
How to apply
We would recommend that you seek assistance when applying for benefits. We work with various Victim Support Groups and they will provide you with excellent advice on all benefits available as well as help you with the forms. Alternatively, if you have not applied for benefits when we come to visit we are happy to provide assistance filling in the forms.
The application form is the “Mesothelioma and other lung diseases” form PWC1. It is necessary to follow their instructions to complete the correct parts depending on the circumstances of the applicant. Claimants must provide evidence of diffuse mesothelioma. Normally a form completed by letter from a doctor or cancer nurse is appropriate.
Copies of hospital letters, X-ray or scan reports, or biopsy results may also suffice. In a fatal case, a post mortem report or an interim or final death certificate is suitable.
The address to send the application and evidence to is within the form, there is also a Freephone number you can call for advice.
Impact on Compensation or other benefits
When a civil claim for compensation is successful, it is a requirement that the defendant repays certain benefits including the lump sum to the government. You will not be asked to make any payment directly. Instead the defendant will deduct the sum received from the settlement amount before it is paid.
If you are on means tested benefits at the time of applying for the Lump Sum payment, the award can impact on those means tested benefits and you should seek advice before applying.
“Fast tracking” of applications
The DWP aims to deal with applications in mesothelioma cases promptly. Payments are often received within a month of the application.