The law provides for payment of weekly state benefits to people who are suffering from certain diseases contracted in the course of certain types of employment. These diseases are referred to as “prescribed diseases” and are listed in Regulations issued by the Secretary of State.
A disease is prescribed when the Secretary of State is satisfied that it is a risk arising from a person’s occupation and not a risk common to everybody. There is no entitlement to state benefits in respect of a disease if it is not listed in the Regulations, or if the person’s job is not listed against the disease.
The date of onset or development of a prescribed disease must be on or after 5th July 1948 (although benefit can be paid for certain diseases resulting from employment before 5th July 1948)
Several of the prescribed diseases relate to asbestos exposure:-
The scheme is administered by the Department of Works and Pensions (“DWP”) and application is made on a FORM BI 100(PN) available from the local Benefits Agency office. The address of your nearest office is available from the post office or Jobcentre or by looking in the business section of the phone book under “Benefits Agency”.
You should not delay in claiming as this may result in you losing state benefits which cannot be backdated more than three months from your first claim ( or more than one month before the claim if you are already in receipt of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit).
Applicants for state benefits relating to asbestos-related diseases are given priority attention. Applicants are sent for examination by a Special Medical Board or specially qualified doctor to decide if they have one of the four asbestos related diseases and to assess the level of disability. In pneumoconiosis cases an x-ray of your chest will normally be arranged. At the same time enquiries are made to confirm periods of employment.
The amount of state benefits you get depends on how badly disabled you are disabled by the disease. Benefit payments can be paid straight into a bank, building society, GIRO or National Savings account every 4 or 13 weeks, or by an order book that can be cased weekly at a post office.
If you cannot get benefit under the Industrial Injuries scheme you may still be able to get benefit under the Workmen’s Compensation (Supplementation) Scheme.
This benefit is payable to persons under pensionable age who are incapable of work because of illness.
This benefit is payable if you have been unable to work for at least 28 weeks in a row because of illness or disability and you do not qualify for incapacity benefit through a lack of NI contributions.
This is paid if you become ill or disabled on or after your 65th birthday and need help looking after yourself. It is paid at different rates depending on whether you need care during the day, during the night, or both.
In addition to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit you may be entitled to other benefits such as;
This is a separate benefit to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. It can be paid on its own or in addition to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. It compensates for loss of earnings capacity where you are unable, as a result of an industrial disease, to return to your regular occupation or to carry out other work producing the same level of earnings.
This replaces Reduced Earnings Allowance when you reach retirement age.
This can be paid if you are so seriously handicapped as a result of your disease that you need constant care and attention (e.g. bedridden). Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit must be assessed at 95% or more for you to get Constant Attendance Allowance.
This is an extra allowance that can only be claimed by persons who are already in receipt of one of the two higher rates of Constant Attendance Allowance. You do not have to make a separate claim. Your entitlement is considered at the same time as you are assessed for Constant Attendance Allowance.
If exposure to asbestos was in work prior to the 5th July 1948 then payment will be made under the Workmen’s Compensation (supplementation) Scheme. Claim forms can be obtained from your local DWP office.
A War Disablement Pension may be paid if disease arises from exposure to asbestos during service in HM Armed Forces. To register, contact the Veterans Agency
An additional lump sum may be payable under Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979 if you are unable to recover damages from your employers.
Who is covered?
Sufferers from certain industrial diseases caused by dust, irrespective of industry. If the sufferer has died, a dependant may be able to claim.
Claimants must normally be in receipt of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit in respect of one of the above prescribed diseases. The only exception is if the claim for disablement benefit is turned down because the level of disability is less than 14% but is assessed as at least 1%.
The employers who caused or contributed towards the disease must have ceased to carry on business, or if they are still trading, there is no realistic chance of obtaining damages from those employers.
The sufferer or dependants must not have brought any action for damages in relation to the disease or received an out of court settlement.
Claim forms are available form your local benefits office on form. Apply on FORM PWC1/2
You should apply as soon as soon as you think you are suffering from a disease covered by the Act. You should not await the outcome of a claim to the Benefits Agency for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
Dependents should apply once they are in receipt of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit If they are time barred from claiming IIDB they should still apply.
A lump sum payment is made under the act calculated by a formula based upon age and disability.
This is for general guidance only. It is not a full statement of the law. We would recommend you seek more detailed advice and guidance from your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Benefits Advice Centre.
This can be claimed if you need help looking after yourself. You must claim before you reach age 65. It is paid at different rates depending on how your disability affects you.