What is Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a Government state benefit scheme for people who are disabled as a result of injury or disease arising from work. The scheme is administered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and provides money on a no fault basis, meaning that no blame is imposed on the employer for the injury or disease arising in their workplace.
The scheme covers over 70 recognised conditions ranging from physical injury, to biological or chemically caused illnesses. The scheme is particularly vital to our clients who develop asbestos-related conditions, which form their own category of “other causes” of disease.
The scheme is only available to those who are or were employed at the time the injury or illness was caused. Although there are limited exceptions to this rule, most self-employed workers are excluded from the scheme. There seems to be little justification for this exclusion beyond how much a person earns and the class of National Insurance contributions made.
For those who are eligible, the money awarded is tax free and can be paid in addition to other related incapacity/disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance, and potentially a lump sum payment specifically for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.
An applicant has to provide sufficient information about how the injury/disease was caused at work, as well as what loss of power or function of the body has occurred, and how long the disablement is expected to last.
Evidence from a medical professional is normally required to confirm the diagnosis, but in circumstances where the evidence is not available, a medical examination is needed. Applications for mesothelioma never require a physical examination.
At present all face to face medical assessments have been postponed due to the pandemic. Medical assessments are now taking place on the written evidence provided on the application form or by phone call with a trained medical assessor.
Due to the severity and terminal nature of mesothelioma, and asbestos related lung cancer, these applicants are given priority. Their applications are fast tracked and are always awarded at the highest rate.
The rate of benefit that is awarded depends on the extent of the applicant’s disability. The award ranges from £36.40 per week at the lowest assessment, to £182 per week at the highest.
If the application can’t be made by a mesothelioma sufferer themselves during life, then certain people can make the application within 1 year after the death of their partner provided that the deceased would have met the criteria above. An award equal to 13 weeks’ payments will then be made.
IIDB benefit awards can be paid in addition to making a compensation claim against the employer who could be held liable for the workplace incident that caused the disability.
The advantage of pursuing a civil claim is that level of compensation which is paid by an employer is likely to be much higher than any state benefit award.
When clients are awarded IIDB on top of a civil claim for lost earnings, the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997 requires the liable employer or their insurer to repay the DWP any money paid out by the scheme.
This legal position suggests that it is unethical for a person to receive two lots of “compensation” from two different sources. And more specifically, taxpayers should not be expected to subsidise a liable employer or their insurer, to compensate a person for their lost income.
We can help people with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases access IIDB and other related benefits if they instruct us to pursue an asbestos compensation claim.
We work closely with the London Asbestos Support Awareness Group (LASAG) who are a charity and support network set up for those suffering from asbestos-related diseases. LASAG will help anyone affected by asbestos and can provide further information on medical care and state benefits.
As asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers, we advise our clients to apply for IIDB as the first port of call, because if it is awarded, this and other benefits can act as a safety net should a full compensation claim not succeed. For further information or legal advice call free 0808 271 9413 or request a call back online.