U.K. veterans newly diagnosed with the rare cancer mesothelioma are eligible for a lump-sum support payment of £140,000 under the War Pensions Scheme, similar to the lump-sum offer already available to non-military patients of this cancer, or they can continue to opt for weekly or monthly payments.
Mesothelioma is a deadly and aggressive cancer commonly attributed to asbestos exposure, possibly dating as far back as 40 years, with a limited post-diagnosis life expectancy.
The country’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) decided to make the lump-sum payments available to veterans as well at the request of the Royal British Legion, according to a recent government press release.
All U.K. veterans newly diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma as a result of military service prior to April 2005 can choose to receive a one-time payment of £140,000 ($200,500), or to recieve weekly or monthly payments. According to the release, the lump-sum is available only to those diagnosed after the mid-December 2015 rule change, though consideration is being given to extending it to all veterans with the cancer. The effort is part of the MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service.
“I have decided that a policy change is required to introduce enhanced arrangements for mesothelioma sufferers. These veterans protected the nation with honour, courage and commitment, and we have listened to their concerns to ensure they are treated with the fairness and respect they deserve,” Mark Lancaster, MP, minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans, said. “Legislative provisions will be made to enable lump sums to be paid from 11 April 2016. Those choosing a lump sum whose claim is accepted prior to this date will receive the current allowances in the interim, until the lump sum is paid; for those currently in receipt of weekly or monthly payments, the MOD is considering whether any further assistance by way of a lump sum can be provided to them.”
He concluded, “The MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service will be on hand to help claimants with understanding the details and choices available.”