As you know, on 16 December 2015 the MOD changed the rules to allow veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma on or after that date the choice between receiving a one-off, tax-free lump sum payment or a traditional War Disablement Pension, which is paid in regular installments.
It is with much pleasure that I write today to inform you that, following sustained pressure from the Legion, the Government has also now agreed to extend eligibility for the lump sum payment to those diagnosed before that date. Around 60 veterans were previously denied access to the new £140,000 lump sum compensation payment on account of the date of their diagnosis. I have attached the detail behind today’s welcome mesothelioma announcement for your further information.
The Legion had originally asked the MOD to consider offering lump sums compensation to veterans diagnosed with this aggressive asbestos-related cancer to correct the financial disadvantage faced by some veterans when compared to their civilian counterparts.
Commodore Rhod Palmer, a third-generation Royal Navy sailor who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2015 and had stood to miss out on the new payment, said of today’s announcement:
“No amount of money will ever compensate sufferers and their families for a preventable death. However, it is a real breakthrough that the Government will treat all current and future sufferers of mesothelioma exposed to asbestos during their service under comparable terms as civilians. This payment allows patients with mesothelioma to make arrangements to maximize their quality of life during this terminal illness and to support the family that they leave behind.”
Legislative provisions will be made to enable lump sums to be paid from 11 April 2016. Those choosing a lump sum whose claim is accepted prior to this date will receive the current allowances in the interim, until the lump sum is paid. We understand that the MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service will contact all existing claimants to explain the new option and will help them understand the choices available.
This has been a hard-fought campaign, which began back in 2013. To see the campaign finally reach this stage will provide a huge sense of relief for thousands of proud servicemen and their families, and I for one am very proud to have helped fight this important battle on their behalf.
Thank you all once again for your sustained support – we simply couldn’t have demonstrated the breadth of opposition to the previous, unfair arrangement without it.
Best wishes… Laura.
Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager
Direct: 020 32072240
The Royal British Legion
199 Borough High Street
London SE1 1AA