It is beyond the scope of this factsheet to provide detailed information upon the conditions which have to be satisfied to obtain the payment of state benefits. The information which appears here is provided to enable you to decide whether you should seek further information upon these benefits from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) or Citizens Advice Bureau.
We would firstly remind you that the receipt of state welfare benefits may affect your entitlement to part of your claim for personal injury compensation for a period of up to 5 years from the date of the accident or event giving rise to the claim. For example, if you claim for loss of earnings, earnings replacement benefits such as Incapacity Benefit and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit can be deducted from your loss of earnings claim and paid by the compensator not to you, but to the DWP. Similarly, if you receive personal injury compensation for care or mobility problems, Disability Living Allowance may be deducted from it and paid by the compensator. The organisation responsible for collecting payment from the compensator on behalf of the DWP is the Compensation Recovery Unit.
The main state welfare benefits relevant in a personal injury claim are as follows:-
Statutory Sick Pay:
If you are employed this is generally paid by your employer when you are unable to work for a period of at least 4 days. It is paid for up to 28 weeks. When entitlement expires, consider applying for Incapacity Benefit. SSP is not means assessed.
The terms of your contract of employment may provide a more generous scheme than SSP, but usually, this is only for a limited time. Where is a more generous scheme in operation, SSP is generally paid in addition but is included within the contractual entitlement? Unless you have a generous private sick pay scheme with your employer you should not expect your sick pay to be comparable with the earnings which you received before your disability commenced.
Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance:
Incapacity Benefit is paid by the DWP for those under the retirement age who cannot work because of sickness or disability and whose claim for Incapacity Benefit was made before 27th October 2008. There are low rates, middle rates and high rates depending upon the duration of the disability. It is not means assessed. Claimants for this benefit after the date mentioned receiving Employment Support Allowance instead. For more information on these benefits, try this link:
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit:
This benefit is paid if you are an employee and you have an accident at work or suffer a listed industrial disease. Disability is medically assessed and must be in excess of 14% to qualify for a payment.
Disability Living Allowance:
This benefit is paid to persons under 65 who have needed help with personal care or personal mobility for at least 3 months (subject to exceptions). There are minimum ages of 3 months/3 years/5 years of age depending upon the circumstances. The benefit is not means assessed.
Constant Attendance Allowance:
This is paid if you need constant care and attention because of your injury or disease. You must be seriously disabled to qualify.
Severe Disablement Allowance:
This is an extra allowance if you are already entitled to constant attendance allowance at the middle or higher rate and your disability are permanent.
If you do consider that you wish to apply for any of the above benefits, please exercise the utmost care with regard to anything which you put upon your application forms. Such documentation is often made available to a Defendant at a later stage of the claim and difficulties can arise where a description of the accident or alternatively a description of disability is in conflict with the descriptions of the accident or the description of disability in the legal claim.