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A government asbestos cancer scheme report has shown many victims are still being denied compensation.
The Department for Work & Pensions have published a review of the payments and statistics of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) for year 2016/17. They make interesting reading.
The DMPS Scheme
The DMPS was introduced in April 2014 and began taking applications from July 2014.It was set up to make payments to sufferers of mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos at work but could not make a civil claim because their former employers or the insurers could not be traced. it is paid for by a levy paid by existing Employment Liability insurers on annual premiums.
In the third year of operation (2016/17) the scheme paid out £31.4 million in compensation to 200 successful applicants. The average award was about £141, 000.
The regulations behind the scheme place an obligation on those insurers still in the market to pay towards the cost. This levy is recalculated every year however and is currently fixed at no more than 3% of the employers liability market in any one year.
The levy collected during the third collection for 2016/17 was £40.4 million.
There are about 2600 annual asbestos deaths per year. It is estimated that between 200-600 of those are for people who can not get compensation in the usual way.
The report confirmed the following figures
- 345 applications were received in the last 12 months.
- 200 applications was successful
- 85 applications were unsuccessful
- 55 applications were pending a decision and;
- 5 applications were withdrawn
The figures sadly show that the percentage of successful applications has gone down to 69%. The age range of applicants show that those under 60 represent 6% of the applications, with those aged between 65 – 69 and 75 – 79 representing 21% each of the overall applications.
Of interest is that 10% of the overall applications were made by people aged 85 or over.
The report confirms that since April 2014 1120 applications have been received with 760 accepted, 265 denied, 40 withdrawn and with 55 decisions pending.
The total compensation paid out to date was £80.1 million. Of this the government received back paid benefits of £17.6 million and the average amount of government repayment was £23,928.88.
Reviews and complaints
There were 25 reviews of the 85 unsuccessful applications in 2016/17 which resulted in a different outcome in 5 cases.
A total of 30 applications have made be made to a first-tier Tribunal which is under constant monitoring.
It was of interest that since the start of the scheme information showed that 83% of the applications were solicitor led and 17% by individuals. Successful applications were done in 75% of applications which were solicitor led compared with 25% of claims where the victims tried doing the claim themselves.
Asbestos Scheme Comment
In our opinion the figures show a sad and disappointing drop off in successful applications. Corries Director Howard Bonnett made the following points
” As the numbers of applications drop the scheme can and should be relaxed. It should be there to help all those who cannot get compensation for this awful disease.
The number of elder people is of concern – even those aged 85 or over can still be affected. They make up 10% of the applicants.
The need to have a solicitor making the application is very clear.
In my opinion the solution to this is simple. Extend the scheme so everyone with mesothelioma gets paid. To fund this then two simple steps are needed.
- Increase the levy the insurance industry paid by 1%. The scheme has proved less expensive that first thought and this money was presumably projected for and;
- In addition let the government re invest the money it gets back in paid benefits back into the scheme.
Victims of asbestos cancer are the most vulnerable and in need of support. The figures paint a shocking and disappointing picture. As a nation if we cannot look after those at the lowest of times – what does that say about us?
The scheme report can be seen here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/diffuse-mesothelioma-payment-scheme-annual-review-2016-to-2017
Our homepage can give you ore information https://www.corries.co.uk/asbestos-claims/
If you have or know someone affected by asbestos in the last 3 years then call us FREE. Our friendly team will have a confidential no obligation chat – call us 0800 083 7839.