HC Deb 29 February 2000 vol 345 cc234-5W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to apply the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997 to compensation awards made to ex-miners with serious respiratory disease under the handling agreement on compensation principles signed by the DTI on 24 September 1999; and if he will estimate the numbers of likely claimants subject to such recovery in each region and nation of the United Kingdom. [111347]

Mr. Bayley

The provisions of the Social Security Recovery of Benefits Act 1997 will apply to miners in the same way as they do for other victims of accident, injury or disease. The compensation recovery scheme is intended to ensure that people do not receive double compensation for the same need. Compensation paid in respect of loss of past earnings, cost of past care or loss of past mobility is therefore reduced to take account of all benefits paid for the same purpose, but only for a maximum period of five years from the date of claim to benefit in respect of the disease. Whether miners see a reduction in the amount of compensation they actually receive, therefore, will depend on the make-up of their compensation payment. However, compensation awarded to miners in respect of pain and suffering will be paid at the full amount awarded under the terms of the handling agreement.

The information on likely claimants subject to benefit recovery is not available in the form requested. The claims handlers IRISC have estimated a total of 150,000 claims under the handling agreement, distributed as follows:

  • England—97,500
  • Wales—40,500
  • Scotland—12,000.

Not all of these claims will be subject to benefit recovery.

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