Help and advise For Mesothelioma Victims

Almost everyone who develops mesothelioma has been in contact
with asbestos. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that grows in the
lining of the lungs or abdomen, and it can take many decades for the
cancer to appear. The main symptoms are chest pains or

People who have worked with asbestos or material containing
asbestos - for example, insulation engineers, shipyard workers,
maintenance workers and building workers - can be affected by
mesothelioma. But workers in many other industries may have also
been exposed to asbestos, but not remember being exposed to it, so
they may be asked for a thorough work history. People who have
come into contact with asbestos from washing contaminated clothing,
or living near asbestos factories may also develop mesothelioma.
There is no cure for mesothelioma at the moment, although there are
treatments available that can help to control the symptoms and
improve quality of life. The kind of treatment offered will depend on
individual circumstances and how advanced the cancer is.

Help and support
Every person diagnosed with mesothelioma will need support and
help. Many may find it hard to accept their diagnosis, while others will
feel angry and bitter, as may their relatives and friends. It is important
that anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma has access both to
information about their illness and treatment and to emotional
support, including someone to talk to when they feel ready. You can
find a list of specialist organisations that may be able to help at the
end of this article.

Benefits and Compensation
If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma you may be entitled to social
security benefits and compensation from employers, or both. You can
get information about benefits and compensation from the
organisations listed at the end of this leaflet. Some important benefits
are mentioned below.

Types of benefit
If you develop mesothelioma through coming into contact with
asbestos as a result of paid employment, you may be entitled to
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. This can be paid very quickly
and you should make a claim as soon as possible so that you don’t
lose out on benefits you may be entitled to. If you were exposed to
asbestos while you were serving in the armed forces rather than in
other employment, you can make a claim for a war disablement
pension from the Veterans Agency instead. Other allowances, such as
Constant Attendance Allowance may also be paid if you receive any
of these benefits. If you have mesothelioma you may also be entitled
to a lump-sum payment from the Government under the
Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 or, in
Northern Ireland, the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation)
(Northern Ireland) Order 1979. Whoever you consult about benefits,
you should always ask about a payment under the 1979 Act or Order
and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Other Benefits
If you need help with personal care or have difficulty getting around
because of your illness, you may be entitled to claim Disability Living
Allowance if you are under the age of 65 when you claim. If you are
over 65 and need help with personal care because of your illness, you
can claim Attendance Allowance. Special rules can apply to these
benefits to make sure you get your entitlement more quickly and
If you receive Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance,
and have someone helping to look after you, they may also be
entitled to claim a Carer’s Allowance. Other benefits may also be paid
to replace or top up your earnings and help with housing costs. It is
important to get expert advice about all these benefits.

If your mesothelioma is likely to have been caused by you being
exposed to asbestos at work, you may be able to claim compensation
from your employer, or from several employers, by suing them for
negligence. If your mesothelioma is likely to have been caused by your
clothing being contaminated or you being exposed to asbestos in the
environment, you may also be able to claim compensation from the
relevant firm. This is a very specialised area of law and you should get
advice from a specialist solicitor who will know how to deal with a
claim and make sure it is dealt with as quickly as possible.

If you have mesothelioma and you are a union member, or you were
when you worked with asbestos, your union may be able to refer you
to an experienced solicitor. If not, a local Asbestos Victims Support
Group, if one exists in your area, will be able to give you advice about
which expert solicitors to consult. The Association of Personal Injury
Lawyers have a list of experienced asbestos solicitors and the Law
Society, or the Law Society of Scotland, or the Law Society of
Northern Ireland, will be able to give you a list of solicitors in your
Because you may have been exposed to asbestos several decades ago,
your employer may no longer be in business. This does not mean that
you cannot make a claim, as the solicitor may be able to claim against
the employer’s insurer.

Sources of help, advice and support
• Mesothelioma UK (the National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource
Centre): 0800 169 2409
• Cancer BACKUP: 0808 800 1234
• British Lung Foundation helpline: 0845 850 5020
• Department for Work and Pensions benefit enquiry line 0800
882200, Textphone 0800 24 33 55
• Forum of Asbestos Victims Support Groups: 0161 636 7555
• Association of Personal Injury Lawyers: 0870 609 1958
• Law Society: 0870 606 6575
• The Law Society of Scotland: 0131 226 7441
• Local Citizens Advice Bureau, Veterans Agency, Welfare Rights
Organisations and Trade Unions can be found in the phone book.
• Veterans Agency 0800 169 2277, Textphone 0800 169 3458
In Northern Ireland
• Department for Social Development – Benefit Enquiry Line –
Freephone 0800 220674
• AdviceNI - 0845 345 4345
• Justice for Asbestos Victims – 028 90783923/ 028 90731224
• Law Society of Northern Ireland - 028 90231614

Reference: Department For Works and Pensions


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