Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme and veterans

The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) was enacted in 2014 allowing mesothelioma victims to claim a lump sum payment from the Government where the negligent employer company or other organisation which caused the mesothelioma is no longer trading or its insurer cannot be traced; i.e. there is no defendant to pursue. Where armed forces veterans were exposed to asbestos before 1987 they are statute barred from pursuing a civil claim against the Ministry of Defence (MOD), leaving them also in a position of having no one to pursue.

Are veterans entitled to claim a payment from the DMPS?

The DMPS states that a mesothelioma victim is unable to claim a payment from the scheme where there is an entitlement to a payment from a MOD scheme such as the War Pensions Scheme (WPS).

So, what can veterans do?

On 16 December 2015 the MOD changed the rules of the WPS to allow mesothelioma victims to have the choice of receiving their WPS in regular, small payments (as in the original scheme) or as a one-off tax-free lump sum. The one-off tax-free lump sum was introduced to redress the imbalance between the WPS and the DMPS/civil compensation. The WPS was previously only paid as regular, small payments which ceased on the death of the mesothelioma victim. This meant that war veterans would often receive a fraction of what their civil counterparts would receive through the DMPS or a claim for compensation.

Does this mean that veterans will receive the same award as a civilian making a compensation claim?

In short, no. The WPS will pay £140,000 as a lump sum to mesothelioma victims making a claim. This means that in most cases the WPS payment is likely to under compensate mesothelioma victims. The amount is just below that paid for 75-year-olds under the DMPS.

What if someone has died from mesothelioma before a WPS claim has been made? Can their widows/dependents still claim?

In this situation a payment under the WPS will no longer be available. Instead, eligible widows and civil partners may apply for a War Widow’s Pension.

What if I have an asbestos-related disease other than mesothelioma?

The lump sum payment under the WPS is only available to those diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Who can help veterans make WPS applications?

Help is available for veterans from Mesothelioma UK who have a dedicated benefits advisor as a part of their armed forces service and work closely with Armed Forces UK. The Royal British Legion also provide help and support. Boyes Turner’s mesothelioma and asbestos claims team can help veterans with applications under the WPS.

If you or a family member are suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, email us at IDclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial conversation. 

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