Advice on welfare benefits
We can arrange for a leading Financial Adviser to assist in relation to welfare benefits issues. The Financial Adviser will provide a welfare benefits assessment, free of charge, to clients who have suffered brain or other serious injuries and their family. This may assist in identifying the welfare benefits to which they may be entitled. Where appropriate the Financial Adviser can also assist in the process of claiming welfare benefits from an initial application through (if necessary) to any appeal process.
Recovery of welfare benefits
If under the terms of a settlement or Court award compensation is to be paid then the Defendant must pay to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) a sum equivalent to any benefits paid to the injured person as a result of their injuries (save that any benefits paid more than 5 years from the date of injury are exempt from this rule).
The process for recovery of benefits paid is administered by the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) of the DWP.
Following payment to the DWP the Defendant will then, subject to certain restrictions, deduct from the compensation to be paid to the injured person the sum it has paid to the CRU. The Defendant will then only account to the injured person with the balance. Whether the Defendant can recoup the whole of the sum it paid to the CRU will depend on the heads of claim included in the settlement or award and the composition of the benefits received by the injured person.
Prior to any settlement the CRU will provide a certificate setting out details of the benefits paid to the injured person as a result of their injuries.
The theory behind this arrangement is that it prevents a Claimant from obtaining “double recovery”. For example a Claimant may receive benefits from the State to compensate for loss of earnings and then damages from the Defendant again to compensate for loss of earnings. In those circumstances the CRU will be repaid the benefits paid so reducing the cost to the State and preventing “double recovery”.
Personal Injury Trusts
If an injured person is in receipt of means tested State benefits or might be entitled in the future then if a large capital payment is made to them by way of compensation then there is potential for this to impact on entitlement to means tested benefits.
Setting up a Personal Injury Trust is a way of avoiding these adverse consequences. Damages paid into a personal injury trust are not taken into account when assessing entitlement to means tested benefits.
Sources of information on benefits
The following are also important sources of information: