Applying for one of the current mesothelioma payment schemes can often be confusing for victims or their dependants. It is even advised by the DMPS (Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme 2014) that you may “want to ask your solicitor to help you progress your application.” However, each of the schemes is intended for a specific type of victim who has been confirmed with mesothelioma but does not receive compensation from elsewhere.

A government payment scheme can often be the first port of call for victims before deciding to pursue a mesothelioma claim and seek answers through the courts. The amount of mesothelioma compensation awarded through a civil action can be significantly larger – often in six figures compared to five figure sums paid by the government schemes.

Eligibility is different for each mesothelioma scheme

There are two types of payment schemes, for which, a victim or dependent may be eligible to apply – ‘Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments 2008’ and the ‘Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2014 (DMPS)’. Eligibility is different for each scheme and the one-off payment amounts also vary between the two. Both schemes have a payment tariff based on the age of the victim when confirmation of their diagnosis was received.

Eligibility to apply for The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments 2008 scheme requires that a victim:

  • Is NOT entitled to a payment under the 1979 Pneumoconiosis Act.
  • Has NOT received a payment for the disease from an employer, a civil claim or elsewhere
  • Is NOT entitled to compensation from a Ministry of Defence scheme.

Exposure to asbestos must have occurred in the UK and a claim must be made within 12 months of diagnosis.

Eligibility to apply for The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme 2014 (DMPS) requires:

  • Diffuse mesothelioma was diagnosed on or after 25 July 2012
  • Inability to find employer responsible for exposing victim to asbestos, or their insurers
  • No prior civil claim made against any employer or insurer
  • No prior damages or specified payment received for mesothelioma or eligibility for a specified payment

Mesothelioma must have been caused by exposure to asbestos in the UK and the time limit for making a claim is within 3 years of diagnosis.

Payments made according to age-based tariff

In both schemes, payments are made according to a tariff based upon the age of the claimant when they were diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, it’s important to be aware of the difference in the payment amounts between the two schemes. In addition, the DMPS 2014 scheme operates two tariffs – one for a claimant diagnosed from 25 July 2012 to 9 February 2015 and the second for a claimant diagnosed from 10 February 2015 onwards.

Under the 2008 scheme, a mesothelioma victim aged 67 and over would currently receive £19,245 compared to the DMPS 2014 scheme, where they would receive £137,383 (if diagnosed between 25 July 2012 to 9 February 2015) or £171,729 (if diagnosed from 10 February 2015 onwards).

A payment may also be subject to deductions against any benefits received for having diffuse mesothelioma, such as DWP lump sum payments or social security benefits. A claim may also be made to the 2008 scheme even if a claim for DMPS 2014 was unsuccesful. But this also means that the amount received will be deducted from the amount received from DMPS 2014. Likewise, for any money received from the 1979 Pneumoconiosis Act.

Less-well known differences between the two schemes

There are further less-well known differences between the two schemes. The 2008 scheme allows for payments to be made to dependants of victims of mesothelioma who have passed away. As before, a dependent must claim within 12 months of the victim’s death and if accepted, the one-off payment amount will depend on the age of the victim when they died. It should be noted that payment amounts to dependents are significantly smaller than for victims. Where a victim aged 67 would receive £19,245, a dependent would receive only £7,763 for a victim who died aged 67 or over.

Application for the DMPS 2014 scheme require detailed evidence, including witness statements, date of diagnosis, medical records, full employment history and proof of the unsuccessful attempts to trace former employer or insurers. If any evidence is missing, the application will be put on hold until it is received. If the requested further information cannot be sent a decision on eligibility will be made solely on the evidence already received. It is likely that the missing evidence could significantly affect the application. DMPS 2014 advise that a claimant may wish to seek the advice of a solicitor to help “progress the application”.

As with a civil claim, where there is a difficulty in collecting evidence, the experience of a specialist asbestosis lawyer can provide the crucial support needed. In a number of cases, a victim or their dependent will decide to pursue their claim in a civil action against former employers.