6th October 2016
If you or your loved one is ex-military and has been diagnosed with Diffuse Mesothelioma then this information about the War Pensions Scheme will be of interest to you.
Q1. Why are you making these changes now?
A1. Veterans that are diagnosed with Diffuse Mesothelioma have a short life expectancy; we recognise they may experience a disadvantage through not having access to a lump sum when compared to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme.
We have introduced a lump sum under the existing War Pensions Scheme to offer veterans suffering from Diffuse Mesothelioma the flexibility to have either a lump sum or to receive regular weekly/monthly payments and entitlement for their dependants to a widow’s pension.
Q2. Why are you doing this?
A2. We recognise that some veterans with Diffuse Mesothelioma may be disadvantaged when compared to their civilian counterparts. Therefore, we have introduced an option of a lump sum to offer these veterans some flexibility.
Q3. Why didn’t MOD mirror the provisions diffuse mesothelioma payment scheme by amending the WPS at the time?
A3. The DMPS was set up as a last resort measure where there is no existing employer for civilians to sue. The War Pensions Scheme was in existence at that time and made provision for those with Diffuse Mesothelioma, and their dependents.
Subsequently, the Royal British Legion raised what they saw as disadvantage to single, widowed and divorced claimants.
Q4. Why is MOD offering a fixed amount lump sum for all rather than an age- related payment?
A4. The age of veterans that are diagnosed with Diffuse Mesothelioma is an average of 75; for simplicity we have taken a similar amount to that paid under the DMPS for a person of that age.
Q5. Why does it not apply to asbestos related lung cancer or asbestosis?
A5. The Mesothelioma Act (2014) is unique to that disease. In concert with that, the new lump sum provision under the War Pensions Scheme applies only to veterans suffering from Diffuse Mesothelioma.
Diffuse Mesothelioma has a unique casual link to asbestos exposure and the inexorable nature of the disease coupled with the lack of effective treatment leads to poor life expectancy.
Q6. I would like to apply for the lump sum, how do I apply?
A6. To make a claim under the War Pensions Scheme you can either go online to http://www.veterans-uk.info/pensions/wdp_new_index.html and click on ‘How can I make a claim?’.
The claim form can be completed electronically printed and signed and then sent to Veterans UK. Or you can call Veterans UK helpline free on 0808 1914 2 18.
Q7. Why are those who opt for the lump sum no longer entitled to a War Pension and Supplementary Allowances?
A7. We have drawn on aspects of Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme, which pays a lump sum only. It does not pay separate allowances or dependent’s benefits.
Instead of the lump sum, claimants can elect to have a War Disablement Pension and Supplementary Allowances, and for an eligible dependent, a War Widow(er)’s Pension.
Q8. If I choose the lump sum how can I access a mobility car?
A8. Although if you choose the lump sum this takes the place of supplementary allowances, if you need a mobility car Veterans UK will process your application for you and arrange for the cost of your car to be deducted from your lump sum and pay Motability directly.
Q9. Is the lump sum tax free?
A9. Yes, the new lump sum is tax-free when paid to the claimant.
Q10. How many Service Personnel have contracted Diffuse Mesothelioma?
A10. There are around 30 new claims for mesothelioma from Veterans each year.
The War Pensions Scheme, which has been in existence since 1917, pays a War Disablement Pension and Supplementary Allowances to veterans with Mesothelioma, but records of all the claims made over time are not available.
Q11. Why are veterans prevented from suing the MOD for exposure to asbestos prior to 25th May 1987?
A11. Veterans are unable to seek common law damages under section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 for injuries (incl exposure to asbestos) before 15th May 1987.
Q12. I am currently in receipt of a war pension for another condition; will I keep this pension if I opt for a lump sum as I have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma?
A12. No. The War Pension Scheme will only award the maximum of 100% war pension to each claimant. Mesothelioma is paid at 100%.
If you opt for the lump sum you will need to give up your current weekly/monthly payments of war pension and supplementary allowances and entitlement for dependants for a war widow’s pension.
You may also opt to stay on the existing weekly/monthly payment arrangements with your War Disablement Pension remaining or increasing to the maximum of 100%. The acceptance of mesothelioma may entitle you to additional supplementary allowances and war widow’s pension.
Q13. I am currently in receipt of a war pension for diffuse mesothelioma; can I opt for the lump sum?
A13. Yes. The lump sum is available to veterans that have been diagnosed with Diffuse Mesothelioma, even if you have been receiving a war pension and supplementary allowances you can still opt for the lump sum. If you do opt for the lump sum and have received a war pension and supplementary allowances, the total amount you have received will be deducted from £140,000 lump sum.
Q14. How long do I have to apply for the lump sum?
A14. You have 3 months from the time you receive a financial summary of the amount of money you have already received for this condition from Veterans UK. New claimants with mesothelioma that have not received any payments of war pension have 3 months from the date of receiving an acceptance for a war pension letter from Veterans UK to opt for the lump sum.
Q15. My husband passed away with mesothelioma last year, he was not in receipt of a war pension, and can I claim the lump sum?
A15. No. But as now, widows, widowers and civil partners of deceased members of the Armed Forces who contracted mesothelioma due to their service may apply for a war widow’s pension.
Q16. My claim is already being processed, why can’t I be eligible for the lump sum?
A16. You can.Anyone diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma may opt for the new lump sum as long as your claim has been accepted by Veterans UK for a war pension for Diffuse Mesothelioma, you can contact them to ask them for the lump sum.
Q17. Will a lump sum under WPS be made available for other illnesses or injuries?
A17. No. The lump sum was introduced to mirror the compensation available under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme which is available to civilians to ensure our veterans are not disadvantaged.
Q18. Why is the lump sum only paid from 11 April 2016?
Q18. Legislative provisions will be made to enable lump sums to be paid from 11 April 2016. These changes have to be made through the Service Pensions Order by way of a legislative change; 11 April is the earliest date in the new financial year that we can do this by.
If an accepted claim is concluded before 11th April 2016 payment of a War Disablement Pension and any claimed Supplementary Allowances will begin until the lump sum can be paid. The lump sum will be reduced by the amount paid.
Q.19. Can eligible dependants apply for the lump sum if the veteran has died?
Q.19. No. If the veteran did not elect for the lump sum prior to his death, the lump sum will not be paid. Eligible Widows or Civil Partners may apply for a War Widow’s Pension in the normal way.
Q20. Can an eligible dependant receive the lump sum if the veteran who opted for the lump sum has died?
A20. If Veterans UK receives the application form signed by the veteran before he dies, the lump sum will be released to the designated person.
Q21. This seems complicated, where can veterans receive support/help/ information to help them choose the best option for them?
A21. Veterans UK website has information on how to apply for compensation.
When you apply Veterans UK will contact you offering you the services of a Veterans Welfare Service, Welfare Manager who can visit you and explain the options. The welfare manager cannot offer you financial advice, but can give you the information you need to understand the options.
Q22. What does the WPS offer currently to mesothelioma veterans?
A22. If you contracted Diffuse Mesothelioma during your time in the armed forces you may be awarded a tax-free 100% war pension, qualifying supplementary allowances and for an eligible dependent, a war widow’s pension.
Q23. What happens if an individual receives an award under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme?
A23. If an individual receives an award under DMPS this indicates they were exposed to asbestos during civilian employment; claims cannot be paid under two public sector schemes for the same disease. Veterans can make claims but cannot be compensated for the same condition twice. Monies received will be deducted from the lump sum.
Q24. Will the lump sum be paid to a claimant based overseas? Will that individual be able to claim treatment allowance?
Q24. Yes. If the veteran has been diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma they may apply for a lump sum. However, when they elect for a lump sum, they will no longer have access to supplementary allowances, this includes treatment allowance.
Q25. Can anyone who has mesothelioma claim?
A25. No. Claimants who served within the armed forces where they were exposed to asbestos during their service and have been diagnosed with Diffuse Mesothelioma are eligible to opt for the new lump sum.
Q26. I was diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma last week, can I apply?
A26. Yes, subject to your claim being accepted for a war pension for your condition by Veterans UK. If you contracted Diffuse Mesothelioma during your service within the armed forces you may apply for a war pension and supplementary allowances or a lump sum of £140,000.
Q27. If I apply for a lump sum how quickly would I receive my award?
A27. Veterans UK will fast track claims for Diffuse Mesothelioma; they aim to conclude claims within 6 weeks. Claims received before 11 April 2016 will be held until that date as money cannot be released until the legislative change has been made. But you will be paid a war pension until the 11 April 16. Any money paid up until that date will be deducted from the lump sum before we pay it into your account.
Q28. Lord West has said ‘three to five people are dying each week’ from mesothelioma. How many veterans are dying from Mesothelioma?
A28. Our records show that there are around 30 new claims for Mesothelioma from veterans each year, and that on average a similar number die each year. Any death from Mesothelioma is very much regretted.
Q29. If I opt for the lump sum will my wife be eligible for a widow’s pension when I die?
A29. No. If you opt for a lump sum you will be surrendering your wife’s/partners eligibility to a war widows pension.
Q30. Will opting for a lump sum affect my eligibility to funeral expenses?
A30. No. Your representative may still apply for some of your funeral expenses should your death be a result of an illness or injury caused by service.
Q.31. Will the new lump sum be uprated in line with the current War Pensions yearly uprating mechanisms?
A31. No. The lump sum will not be uprated annually; this is in line with other Government compensation schemes.
Q.32. Currently the widow of a War Pensioner/Veteran who died as a result of his military service is eligible to apply for a War Widow’s Pension in her own right. Why will this right cease if the Veteran claims the new lump sum?
A32. The option of the lump sum has been introduced to offer veterans suffering with Diffuse Mesothelioma and their dependants more flexibility. If the lump sum option is chosen, the veteran and his dependant will be wavering entitlement to most benefits under the War Pension Scheme, including a War Widow’s Pension. A Welfare Manager will be on hand to explain the details.
The option to receive regular payments of a War Pension and supplementary allowances and a War Widow’s Pension will still be available instead of the lump sum. Veterans will be given the opportunity to choose the option that suits their needs.
Thank you to the Veterans Welfare Service for this information.