Every person in the UK diagnosed with the fatal asbestos related disease, mesothelioma, will be entitled to claim a new state funded benefit next month regardless of how they were exposed to asbestos.

The Child Maintenance & Other Payments Act 2008 will come into force on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 paving the way for many to claim the payment. This will include people who were not previously entitled because they had not been exposed to asbestos at work.

The Act was introduced to relax the criteria for entitlement to state benefits for mesothelioma victims.

Specialist Claimant Lawyers

Specialist claimant lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, which has offices nationwide, called for the law to be changed in November 2006 in its response to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) consultation on Improving Mesothelioma Claims Handling.

The law firm said it was unjust that people exposed to asbestos outside the workplace were excluded from entitlement to certain state funded benefits.

The new regulations mean everyone diagnosed with mesothelioma, including previously excluded groups like the self employed and family members exposed to asbestos on workers overalls, will be entitled to receive the new lump sum payment from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Government estimates the new payments will be made within six weeks of presenting a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Head of Asbestos Policy

Thompsons Solicitors, head of asbestos policy, Ian McFall said: “As a result of our experience of handling thousands of asbestos cases we highlighted a number of areas where we believed improvements could be made to the system to benefit mesothelioma sufferers and their families.

“We believe that all mesothelioma victims should be entitled to this lump sum payment, regardless of where and how they were exposed to asbestos.

“This change in the law will make a real difference to the lives of some mesothelioma sufferers by allowing them to obtain a benefit which was previously only available to people who were exposed to asbestos at work.”