Compensation for victims under the England Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS).
- AuthorMichael Pace
There has been a lot of recent publicity following the announcement that victims of the blood scandal are to receive the sum of £100,000.00 each as an interim payment of compensation.
This blog provides information to help those affected; access the compensation scheme, what to do when compensation is received, and who can help make the most of the compensation received.
How do victims receive this money?
They should search online for the scheme mentioned above. This is an NHS scheme. They can download an application form in order to be registered and thereby come to the attention of the government. If you are already registered, then the government should be in touch with you.
It might also be possible even at this late stage to join a Group Action Claim. However, it may be too late as there was a closing date to join in 2021. The only way of knowing is to contact one of the larger solicitors practices who are involved.
The purpose of this article is to advise those people who receive compensation under the scheme and who are in receipt of means tested benefits. This will only apply to those people who are still alive and were infected. This advice does not apply to anyone claiming as a spouse or partner of someone who has died as a result of being infected or, is claiming on behalf of an estate. PI Trusts do not apply to them even though this would appear unfair.
What to do with the compensation when received?
Anyone who is in receipt of compensation received as a direct result of suffering injury can set up a Personal Injury Trust (PI Trust). If you are claiming any Means Tested Benefit at the time, the compensation can be paid into the trust and you can continue to claim those benefits.
To set up a trust you need to take advice from a solicitor with experience of PI Trusts. They can be a fairly simple legal document or depending on your personal circumstances, they can be complicated.
By putting your compensation into a PI Trust, you are in fact giving it away to your Trustees, who have a duty to manage it and invest it according to the law and to allow access to it when you ask.
When you are receiving a Means Tested Benefit, the law states that you are allowed up to £6000 in savings without your benefits being affected. Once you have above £6000 your benefit payment will be reduced according to each £250 you have above that minimum limit. Once you get to £16000, your benefit stops.
You can see therefore that if you receive the £100,000.00 you will be above the limits and at risk of having your benefits stopped. Once any compensation money is received, no matter how small, you have 52 weeks in which to notify the DWP of the receipt of compensation. In that time you can get the PI Trust set up.
When setting up a Trust you need to consider who your Trustees should be. They can be your solicitor, who will charge for all work done. It could be a friend or family member. Sometimes its one of each, solicitor and friend. The Trust will say what will happen to the balance of any money after you die.
Who can assist with setting up the trust?
Also, with such a large sum to invest, it would be wise to take financial advice about how best to invest the money so as to keep it growing and allow you from time to time to draw money down for your benefit. Here at Chattertons, we can advise and assist you with setting up the Trust and our financial advisers can assist with where to place the investments.
Head of personal Injury and Motor Law