The rules on making a claim following an industrial disease

Q. I recently made a claim for Disablement Benefit for an industrial disease. I have received treatment including surgery for the condition but the DWP have stated the condition was not caused by my job. I don’t understand how the claim was unsuccessful, can I appeal the decision?

Friday, 31st January 2020, 5:00 pm
There are rules on how much benefit, if any, you are able to claim when it involves an industrial disease. Picture PA

A. In order to answer your query in more detail it would be helpful to know some more about the condition/disease you claimed for and also how long have you had the health problems (not when the condition was medically diagnosed) that you think was caused by your job. However there are common rules that can apply for claims for these types of conditions which may explain why the claim failed. With a number of industrial diseases the relevant regulations state that if a condition developed either during the employment period you think the disease developed or within 12 months of you leaving the job then there is a presumption the disease was caused by your job. If the condition/disease developed after 12 months then you cannot rely on this presumption. Please note this presumption does not apply to every disease under the scheme (hence why knowing the condition/disease you made a claim for is important). So if for example you claimed for Vibration White Finger and last used vibratory tools in 1990 but had no symptoms of the condition until 2000 then you cannot rely on the presumption. Many medical conditions can cause symptoms similar to many of the industrial diseases under the scheme. The presumption exists to eliminate other possible causes of the condition/disease of which there could be many.

Like any decision you are able to appeal subject to the usual time limits, within one month of the DWP’s decision to a tribunal. However it will always be worthwhile seeking specialist advice in order to decide if the appeal might succeed.

Q. I am due to start my Maternity Leave in two weeks, but my employer has told me that I have not worked there long enough to be paid Statutory Maternity Pay. Is there anything I can claim instead?

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A. By the 15th week before your baby is due, you must have worked for your current employer for at least 26 weeks. If you have not met that criterion, then you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance instead. You must have been working and earning at least £30 per week in 26 out of the 66 weeks before your baby is due. Maternity Allowance is paid by the DWP and you would need to complete an MA1 form to apply.

Maternity Allowance is paid for 39 weeks and is 90% of your average wages – capped at £139.58 per week. You can apply from 15 weeks before your due date and can be paid from 11 weeks before your due date.

If you don’t meet the criteria for Maternity Allowance then you may be able to claim Income Support from 11 weeks before your due date if your household income is low enough or Universal Credit if you live in a full service area.