Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

There are benefits designed for people with asbestos-related illnesses. It is worth getting advice from an expert about claiming for these.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is for people whose illness was caused by their work. This includes people who have cancer because they were exposed to asbestos. You cannot claim it if you were exposed to asbestos outside of work or while self-employed.

This benefit is paid regularly. The amount paid depends on how much your illness affects you.

There are also lump sum payments you may be entitled to. These are:

  • The Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 – for people who have been awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Diffuse mesothelioma payments (2008 scheme) – for people not entitled to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) – for people exposed to asbestos at work, but who can’t trace their employer, or employer’s liability insurer.

If you came into contact with asbestos while in the armed forces you can claim with the Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

This is an important benefit that is payable to people with certain asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma. It is not means-tested and is payable in situations where the illness may have been caused by exposure to asbestos dust at work. It is not necessary for a person to have worked with asbestos to get this benefit. They only need to have been exposed to asbestos dust at work. You cannot get this benefit if you were self-employed in the work that led to the exposure.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit can be paid weekly, every 4 weeks or every 13 weeks into your bank account. People with mesothelioma are entitled to the maximum rate. If you are given this benefit, you may also be entitled to other benefits. You can get more information about these from a benefits adviser or specialist solicitor.

Lump-sum payments

You may be able to get a one-off, lump-sum payment. There are different types of payment. Which ones you can apply for depends on what other benefits you are entitled to.

The Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979

You may be entitled to a lump-sum payment under this act if you have been awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. You can claim this payment:

  • whether or not you are likely to be able to make a claim against the employer you were working for when you were exposed to asbestos dust
  • if the employer is no longer in business
  • if you have not already settled a compensation claim.

Even if you are likely to get compensation from the employer’s insurers, it is still worth making a claim for this benefit. This is because you may receive a payment within weeks of making the application. You must claim within 1 year of the award for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit being made.

Diffuse mesothelioma payments (2008 scheme)

This scheme is for people who cannot claim either the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or the benefit under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979.

Usually, this is because their exposure to asbestos was not as a result of their work as an employee. This can include people:

  • who came into contact with asbestos from a relative (for example, by washing their clothes that were contaminated with asbestos dust)
  • who were exposed while self-employed.

Payment is made as a one-off, lump sum. The claim must be made within a year of being diagnosed with mesothelioma. You will be asked to provide information about your illness, which is available from your doctor.

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS)

This scheme provides payments for people who were diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after 25th July 2012. It is only for people who were exposed to asbestos at work and are unable to find the employer, or the employer’s insurer. The scheme can also pay out to eligible relatives or dependants of a person who has died from mesothelioma.

You can still claim under this scheme even if you have already claimed under the 2008 scheme or the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979. If you already have a payment from one of these schemes, it will be deducted from any DMPS payment you get. Even if you have not been successful in claiming under other schemes, you may still be eligible for the DMPS scheme.

It is very important to get advice from a specialist solicitor before making this type of claim. This is because the possibility of claiming from a former employer (or their insurer) must be fully investigated first. If this has not been done, the claim will be rejected. The information given supporting the claim may affect a later claim against the former employer or their insurers.

For more information about the 2008 scheme and the DMPS, visit

Help for people who were in the armed forces

If you were in the armed forces and you have mesothelioma because you came into contact with asbestos, you may be able to make a claim with your local Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee. Call the Veterans UK helpline on 0808 1914 218 for more information.

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