Asbestos Booklet – payment from DWP
Lump sum payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
This may be paid under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (the 1979 Act). The amount of the lump sum is calculated according to a scale based on the applicant’s age and on the assessment of his/her disablement which was made in the application for IIDB: the younger he/she is and the higher his/her disablement, the larger the award.
To be eligible for a lump sum under the 1979 Act:
- the applicant must have been awarded IIDB for his/her asbestosis or pleural thickening; and
- the applicant must not have issued court proceedings in a civil claim for damages (see the ‘A claim through a solicitor’ section below); and
- the employer/employers which allowed him/her to be exposed to asbestos dust must have stopped trading; or,
- if the employer/employers is/are still trading, there must be no realistic chance of receiving damages in a civil claim; or
- the employment/employments in which the applicant was exposed to asbestos dust must have ended more than 20 years ago.
The condition that IIDB must have been awarded limits the category of individuals with asbestosis or pleural thickening who qualify for a payment under the 1979 Act to men and women who were exposed to asbestos dust when working as an employee or apprentice.
Payment of the lump sum by the DWP does not bar someone from later starting a court action in a civil claim for damages, whereas if court proceedings have already been issued, an application for the DWP lump sum cannot be made. It is advisable, therefore, to apply for the lump sum as soon as possible. This application will then almost certainly be processed before a solicitor is ready to issue court proceedings in a civil claim.
Applications under the 1979 Act must be made within 12 months of the date of the award of IIDB. If the applicant dies within this period, the time limit is extended and applications can be made within 12 months of the date of death. The amount paid in posthumous claims under the 1979 Act is, however, lower than in applications made on a living basis. Also, if a man or woman with asbestosis or pleural thickening applies for a payment while he/she is alive, but dies before this is processed, the award is still made at the rates which apply to living claims. These
are further reasons why it is advisable to apply for a payment under the 1979 Act as soon as possible.
If, after receiving a lump sum under the 1979 Act someone with asbestosis or pleural thickening is awarded damages in a civil claim, the lump sum does not have to be paid back to the DWP. Rather, the civil damages are reduced by the amount of the lump sum received.
If someone is awarded a lump sum from the DWP for asbestosis or pleural thickening and that condition later deteriorates, he/she cannot apply for an increase in the lump sum. The 1979 Act allows only one payment in respect of each condition. This contrasts with IIDB, in respect of which a claim for an increase can be made if the asbestos condition for which the benefit was paid subsequently worsens. If, however, someone has received a lump sum from the DWP for asbestosis or pleural thickening and later develops a different asbestos condition (for example, mesothelioma) an application for a further lump sum can be made in respect of the new condition.
This is the PWC1 and is available from the following address, which is also to where completed application forms should be sent:
Barrow IIDB Centre
Freephone: 0800 279 2322