AN asbestos support group is warning people with pleural plaques to seek advice now or risk missing out on compensation.
A scheme for sufferers of asbestos-related pleural plaques to claim compensation closes at the end of next month.
The Northern Region Asbestos Support and Campaign Group, set up by the Northern TUC, provides free support and advice to victims of asbestos-related diseases and their families and has already recovered £72,500 for more than 100 sufferers.
Freda Simpson, 77, of Concord, Washington, is typical of those who have been helped.
Freda received her payment from the scheme just a few months after getting in touch with advisors. She was exposed to asbestos when she was just four because her elder sister worked at the Washington Chemical Company plant.
She was diagnosed with pleural plaques in 2000 and instructed solicitors to pursue a claim but received no compensation due to the litigation battle in the courts.
She approached the group, which helped her claim £5,000.
“The advisers at the support group were very easy to speak to as well as knowledgeable and efficient,” she said.
“After waiting for 11 years for compensation, I was surprised at how quickly they were able to help with my case.”
Maggie Fitzsimons, who works alongside colleague Pat McKeown at support group, said: “Claiming compensation can be daunting for people affected by asbestos-related disease.
“We offer a free service which can help with welfare benefits and access to legal advice. With the deadline fast approaching for the Government scheme, we want to let people who might be eligible know that there is still time to get in touch.”
The group, based at Wallsend People’s Centre, holds an outreach service at the GMB office in Frederick Street, Sunderland, on the first Wednesday of every month and can be contacted on 200 7198.
Ian McFall, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It is important that anyone entitled to claim compensation for pleural plaques does so before the scheme deadline on July 31.
“They should either get in touch with the Northern Region Asbestos Support and Campaign Group on 200 7198 for free independent help and advice or to contact the solicitors who were dealing with their claim prior to October 2007.”