Yesterday the Government announced that it would be making changes to compensation arrangements for veterans with diffuse mesothelioma.
Currently veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an especially aggressive form of lung cancer, through exposure to asbestos as a result of their military service, do not have the option to receive compensation in the form of a lump sum, which is made in either weekly or monthly payments under the War Pensions Scheme. However, following the introduction of the new Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (which issues lump sums to civilians diagnosed with mesothelioma) and representations from MPs, including myself, and the Royal British Legion, the Ministry of Defence has decided to update their compensation arrangements. This means that veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma from yesterday (16 December 2015), as a result of their military service before April 2005, will have the option of taking a lump sum.
As someone who raised this issue with the Ministry of Defence and successfully campaigned to increase compensation for mesothelioma sufferers during the debates in Parliament on the Mesothelioma Act 2014, I very much welcome this decision. I am also particularly pleased that the Government has made this decision given that Medway is a hotspot for mesothelioma owing to its history of heavy industry and ship building at Chatham Dockyard and its close association with our armed forces and the Ministry of Defence.
Those who served in our armed forces deserve to be treated fairly for the sacrifices they and their families have made and this decision will rightly give those veterans affected the flexibility they may need when planning their future. For those veterans eligible, lump sums will be available from April 2016 and the Ministry of Defence is considering what help might be available for veterans in terms of a lump sum who are currently in receipt of weekly and monthly payments. More information of the Government’s announcement can be found here: