Patients with incurable asbestos-related cancer see processing times for benefits and government compensation double

New research from Mesothelioma UK, the national asbestos-related cancer charity, has revealed that times for processing benefits and government compensation claims for mesothelioma patients have doubled within a year.

Claimants with mesothelioma are entitled to have their application fast tracked by the DWP. However, records have shown sharp increases in processing times for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) claims and government lump sum payments under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (PWCA) and 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme (2008).

According to Mesothelioma UK records, IIDB application processing time* has increased from 24 days in July-September 2022 to 48 days in October-December 2023. PWCA/2008 application processing time has increased from 31 days in April-June 2023 to 60 days in October-December 2023.

Mesothelioma is a cancer related to exposure to asbestos and predominantly affects the lining of the lungs. The UK has the highest incidence of the disease in the world with around 2,700 people diagnosed each year.

Liz Darlison, CEO of Mesothelioma UK, said: “This means that people with mesothelioma, who can have a very poor prognosis, are facing unnecessary delays and stress in accessing the financial support to which they are entitled. Many people with mesothelioma rely on this benefit and lump sum compensation to help them cover the financial costs of their illness. It is no exaggeration to state that some people with mesothelioma are dying before their claims are even processed.

“Mesothelioma UK works closely with asbestos support groups around the country and we understand they are all experiencing similar problems.

“We urge the government to take immediate action to address this unacceptable situation, and to ensure that the fast-track process for mesothelioma claims is restored to its original efficiency and effectiveness.”

*Application processing time as defined by Mesothelioma UK is the time from the postal date of the application forms to the date the applicant receives their award letter.

April 10, 2024

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