NI: Law Centre secures entitlements for asbestosis sufferer

Law Centre (NI) successfully appealed an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit case for a client who suffered from asbestosis as a result of exposure to asbestos in previous employment.

The client received £1,054 in arrears and is now entitled to an additional weekly payment of £16.80 until his case is reassessed in January 2018.

The Law Centre also advised their client to take legal advice from a private practice solicitor as he may be entitled to compensation from his previous employers.

His illness came under the category of ‘prescribed disease PD1’ for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. The general rule is that, to be entitled to the benefit, a person must have either suffered personal injury as a result of an industrial accident, or have contracted a prescribed disease resulting in a disablement percentage of at least 14 per cent. However, in the case of PD1, it is sufficient that the person has been assessed as having a resulting disablement of 1 per cent.

On receipt of medical evidence from his consultant, a Decision Maker accepted that he suffered from PD1 and referred him for medical assessment to determine the extent of his resulting disablement. However, the Department’s medical adviser expressed the opinion that, on balance, he was not suffering from prescribed disease PD1 and the claim was disallowed.

At this stage, he appealed to a Medical Appeal Tribunal and his trade union referred him to the Law Centre for specialist advice.

A Law Centre (NI) social security legal adviser represented him at the oral hearing where, despite other medical conditions which may also have contributed to the severe symptoms he experienced, the Tribunal made a provisional decision that his disablement resulting from PD1 should be assessed at 5 per cent for two years.

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