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The legal importance of the benefits application form

Does your patient have an asbestos-related condition? They may be entitled to state benefits. These can come in the form of weekly/monthly payments or lump sum payments. The monies received from these benefits could provide your patient with much needed funds, allowing them to put in place aids and equipment to help improve their quality of life.

Benefits to which your patient may be entitled to include:

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Pneumoconiosis (Worker’s Compensation) Act 1979
  • Diffuse Mesothelioma Schemes
  • Personal Independence Payment & Attendance Allowance

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The state benefit system can seem confusing and opaque, especially to someone who is coming to terms with a life-changing condition. Application forms can seem daunting and it can also be difficult to work out whether or not an application for a new benefit will affect existing benefit income.

It is also worth keeping in mind the potential legal importance of the benefit application form.

Your patient may be entitled to take civil claims against former employers (or their Employer Liability Insurer). Defendants in such actions routinely ask to see copies of benefit application forms. They look for inconsistencies in a claimant’s version of events; for example, when making a benefit application a claimant may not have appreciated the importance of providing details of every employment at which they suffered asbestos exposure. A defendant can use such an omission to cast doubt on the more detailed exposure history contained in a claimant’s witness statement.

The National Asbestos Helpline understands the difficulties your patient may face in applying for benefits, as well as the potential legal importance of the application form. We have a dedicated team who can guide your patient through the benefit application process, helping them assess which benefits they are likely entitled to. We can also take the time to assess exposure histories in detail and ensure your patient understands the importance of the application process.

For more information, please call us on 0808 250 6786 or email enquiries@nationalasbestos.co.uk

 

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