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INCREASED PAYMENTS FOR MESOTHELIOMA SUFFERERS

More financial help for widespread asbestos related disease

The Government announced has today that lump sum payments from the 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme will increase by around 40% from April to the same level as those paid under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979.

This will mean that individuals who develop the disease from asbestos exposure outside the workplace will receive the same payment as those exposed at work. People can develop the disease if, for example, they lived close to an asbestos factory or by washing their partner’s clothes if their partner was exposed to asbestos.

Families will benefit from changes

Sufferers currently receive a minimum payment of £8,197 from the Mesothelioma Scheme. This will rise to £11,678 in April. The maximum payment will rise from £52,772 to £75,176.

The Government will also increase payment levels under the 1979 Act by a further 1.5%, even though the retail price index showed negative growth.

Payments to the family of someone who dies of mesothelioma and other dust-related diseases will also receive an additional increase in their awards. Currently these payments are made at a much lower rate than those made to sufferers during life.

To help families cope with the effect of the disease on their loved ones, dependants will now receive an increase of up to £5,000, to bring the rate of payment between sufferers and dependents closer together.

Exposure outside the workplace will be covered

DWP Minister Bill McKenzie said: “Mesothelioma devastates lives and causes great suffering to hundreds of individuals and their families.

I am pleased to announce that from April everyone who suffers from this disease will receive the same payment wherever they were exposed to asbestos, providing a substantial increase for those who developed the disease outside the workplace.

“We recognise that the terrible effects mesothelioma can have on families who have to cope with the effect of the disease on their loved ones, witnessing their pain, suffering and, ultimately, their death. They will now receive an extra amount to help them through these extremely difficult times.”

The 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme was introduced to provide up-front financial support to those people who previously were not eligible for help from the Government’s other compensation schemes.

In the first 12 months, 630 people have benefited from the scheme. A similar number of people are expected to benefit each year from the increase in payments.

New rates apply where diaognosis on or after 1 April 2010

The new payment rates will apply to claims from sufferers where the diagnosis of mesothelioma is given on or after 1 April 2010. They will also apply to claims made by dependants where the date of death occurs on or after 1 April 2010.

The Government also recently announced that thousands of people with serious industrial diseases who miss out because they cannot trace their employers’ insurance records should be given additional help to be able to claim civil compensation.

The DWP set out plans to create an Employers’ Liability Tracing Office to help people track down their employers’ liability insurance policies, and an Employers’ Liability Insurance Bureau to provide a fund of last resort for those who are unable to trace them.

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