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Asbestos Booklet – Welfare Benefits

Welfare benefits and a lump sum payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

There are several welfare benefits, which are paid weekly or every four weeks, and a lump sum payment from the DWP which someone with asbestosis or pleural thickening may qualify for. Applications should be made as soon as possible, as delay will reduce the amount an individual is entitled to.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

There are two sets of qualifying conditions for this benefit which apply to men and women with asbestosis or pleural thickening. The first concerns how he/ she was exposed to asbestos. IIDB is only paid to individuals who have been exposed to asbestos dust when working as employees or as apprentices. People whose only exposure to asbestos took place when working on a self-employed basis or outside of a working environment (e.g. domestically, from asbestos dust brought home by another member of the family, or through living near an asbestos factory) are not eligible. (If someone was exposed both as an employee/apprentice and outside his/her employment/ apprenticeship, he/she is entitled to IIDB.)

The second condition concerns the extent of the individual’s asbestos disease and the level of the disablement it causes. These issues are assessed at a medical examination carried out for the DWP, which includes an x-ray.

The requirements of the second condition in relation to asbestosis are straightforward. If the DWP finds the condition to be present, IIDB is paid if disablement is assessed at 1% or more.
As for pleural thickening, the conditions are more complicated. IIDB is payable if this:

• is on both lungs (i.e. bilateral); or
• on one lung only (i.e. unilateral);
• is diffuse: i.e. the thickening extends to a thickness of 5mm or more at some point in the part of the chest wall affected by the disease;
• obliterates the costophrenic angle; and if
• the level of disablement caused by the pleural thickening is assessed at 14% or more;
and if the applicant’s work in which he/she was exposed to asbestos involved:
• the working or handling of asbestos or of a mixture which contains asbestos;
or
• the manufacture or repair of asbestos textiles or of other products which were made from or contained asbestos; or
• the cleaning of any machinery or plant used in any operation involved in any of the activities in the two bullet points above; or
• the cleaning of any chambers, fixtures and appliances used for the collection of asbestos dust; or
• work which was not directly involved in any of the tasks in any of the bullet points above but, through being carried near such work, involved exposure to substantial levels of asbestos dust.
If awarded, IIDB is paid according to a scale which places levels of disablement in bands (e.g. 21%-30% etc.): the higher the band, the higher the payment.

Assessments are made either on a final basis or on a provisional basis for a defined period. In the latter situation, the individual will have a further medical examination at the end of the period to assess whether his/her asbestos-related disability has got worse. If a final award is made and the individual’s disability later increases, he/she can apply for an increase in IIDB by submitting a change of circumstances form. The applicant will have a further medical examination and, if the DWP finds that his/her asbestos-related disablement has got worse so that it comes within a higher band, IIDB will be increased.

No income tax is paid on IIDB.

There is no age limit for applications. These can be made after the individual has retired.

An award of IIDB does not affect an individual’s right to continue to receive other non-means tested benefits. It is, however, taken into account in assessing entitlement to means tested benefits; namely Universal Credit, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, income related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credit. Someone who is receiving any of these benefits may lose or have his/her entitlement to them reduced if he/she starts to receive IIDB. It is recommended that these individuals take advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or an Asbestos Victims Support Group before applying for IIDB on whether an award of the benefit would leave them better or worse off taking into account the effect it would have on their means tested and associated “passport” benefits.

Application form

This is the B1100-PD, is pink in colour, and can be obtained from any Jobcentre Plus office, the UK government website (at www.gov.uk), or by phone from the applicant’s Industrial Injuries Disablement Centre (0845 6031358 or 0845 758 5433).

The DWP classes asbestosis as pneumoconiosis and the code for this condition, for IIDB purposes, is PDD1. The code for pleural thickening is PDD9.

Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA) and Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (ESDA)

In the most severe cases of asbestosis or pleural thickening, in which disablement has been assessed at 95% or more, these benefits may be paid in addition to IIDB.

CAA is awarded if the applicant’s doctor or specialist nurse states that the applicant is “entirely or almost entirely” or “to a substantial extent” dependent on attendance for the necessities of life. There are two rates of CAA.

ESDA is paid in addition to CAA if the applicant’s doctor or specialist nurse states that he/she is likely to need CAA permanently.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA)

These are benefits for people with care and mobility needs. They are not paid specifically for asbestos diseases, but men and women with asbestosis or pleural thickening may, depending on the extent of their disability, qualify for one or other benefit.

PIP is a benefit which was introduced in the spring and summer 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Somebody who had, before then, been awarded DLA will have his/her benefit transferred to PIP between now and 2018.

PIP is paid to people who are under 65 and AA to people who are 65 or over.

There are two components of PIP: namely, Daily Living and Mobility. Only one application is made for both components and each component has two rates: standard and enhanced.

There is only one component of AA and this has two rates.

An award of PIP or AA does not affect an individual’s right to receive other means tested benefits.

Applications

The way of applying for PIP which is preferred by the DWP is by phone on 0800 9172222. The application form is PIP1.

For AA the form is the AA1A. This can be obtained from any Jobcentre Plus office, the UK government website (at www.gov.uk) or the Attendance Allowance helpline 0845 712 3456.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Someone with asbestosis or pleural thickening who was employed before the symptoms of his/her condition began and who has to stop working because of the disease may qualify for SSP. This is paid by the individual’s employer for a maximum of 28 weeks. The employee should inform his/her employer that he/she is sick and do this within seven days of the start of the period of absence
(unless the employer has set a different time limit under the person’s employment contract).

If, at the end of the 28 week period of entitlement to SSP the individual is still incapable of work, he/she should consider applying for Employment Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC)

This benefit is paid to people who are unable to work due to disability.

Applicants must be under the retirement age for a State pension (currently 65 formen and between 60 and 65 for women 1).

As stated in the previous section, someone who was receiving SSP should claim ESA for the period after his/her 28 weeks of entitlement to SSP end. Someone who does not qualify for SSP should apply for ESA from the beginning of the period when he/she cannot work.

If awarded, ESA is paid for two phases, each of which has its own payment rates.

The first is the work capability assessment phase which lasts up to 13 weeks. The second period, the main phase, is paid at higher rates.

There are two types of ESA; namely contributions based and income related. The former is paid if the applicant has made or been credited with sufficient National Insurance contributions. The latter is means-tested and is calculated taking into account the claimant’s and his/her partner’s other income and capital.1

Income-related ESA is being replaced by Universal Credit (UC) between April 2013 and April 2014. UC is being rolled out nationally, area by area. Once it has been introduced into an applicant’s region, he/she will have to apply for UC rather than income-related ESA. The introduction of UC does not affect contributory ESA and an application for this part of the benefit can still be made.

1 The State pension age for women born after 6 April 1950 is being increased in stages from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and November 2018. A woman who wants to find out exactly when she will reach State pension age can do so by contacting the Pension Service (contact details at end of this guide).

Applications

The DWP’s preferred method of claiming ESA is by phone to a Jobcentre Plus contact centre on 0800 0556688. Alternatively, an application can be made by completing the claim form ESA1. This can be downloaded at www.gov.uk.

In most cases, applications for UC must be made online at: www.gov.uk/universalcredit.

1 A man or woman and/or his/her partner who has/have savings of over £16,000 will not qualify, and the amount of ESA is tapered if savings are between £6,001 and £16,000.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

This benefit is paid to individuals who are caring for someone who is severely disabled and may be relevant in severe cases of asbestosis or pleural thickening. One of the qualifying conditions is that the person being cared for must be receiving either rate of the Daily Living Component of PIP, the highest or middle rate of DLA Care Component, AA, CAA in respect of IIDB, or a War Disablement Pension.

If the person being cared for meets this first condition, the conditions which the carer (rather than the person being cared for) has to satisfy are that he/she:

• must provide care for 35 hours or more per week;
• must not be working and earning more than £100 per week or be in fulltime education (i.e. studying for more than 21 hours per week); and
• must be 16 or over.

CA is taken into account in assessing the carer’s entitlement to means tested benefits. A carer who is already receiving one or more such benefits should, therefore, before applying for CA, take advice about whether the reduction in or loss of means tested benefits which would result from payment makes an application for CA worthwhile.

Application forms

The application form is DS700(1) or, if the carer is receiving a State Retirement Pension, DS700(SP). These are available from any Jobcentre Plus office, the UK government website (at www.gov.uk) and the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321.

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