New laws are being applied from tomorrow (1st August) that will see certain welfare benefits deducted from compensation settlements in Ireland.
The Department of Social Protection´s “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” comes into force tomorrow following the passage of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act last year. The scheme replaces the current practice of deducting welfare benefits from calculated loss of earnings and operates in a similar way to the Compensation Recovery Unit in the UK.
From 1st August a compensator – usually the insurance company of the negligent party – will be required to apply for a statement of recoverable benefits from the Department of Social Protection and will then reimburse the Department for benefits that the plaintiff has received over the previous five years that are directly related to the injury or accident for which their claim was made.
Copies of the statement will also be sent to the plaintiff´s solicitor (and the Injuries Board where applicable) detailing deductions to be made from compensation settlements in Ireland for receipt of the following welfare benefits:
- Injury Benefit
- Illness Benefit
- Partial Capacity Benefit
- Incapacity Supplement
- Disability Allowance
- Invalidity Pension
The deduction of welfare payments from compensation settlements in Ireland is not the responsibility of the plaintiff, nor does the receipt of welfare benefits exclude a plaintiff from claiming injury compensation due to somebody else´s negligence. The only likely noticeable difference for plaintiffs is that the payment of compensation settlements in Ireland will take longer to process (up to four weeks).
An appeals procedure exists if a plaintiff contests the amount of welfare payments being recovered, and it is important that plaintiffs examine their copy of the benefits statement to ensure that it is accurate, and that deductions made from compensation settlements are relevant only to the welfare benefits they have received in respect of their injury.
In the event that plaintiffs are unsure about the assessment of their injury compensation claim – and the welfare payments deducted from it – it is recommended that professional legal advice be sought from a solicitor.