If you have claimed Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and the government’s Lump Sum Scheme – officially known as the Pneumoconiosis etc. Workers’ Compensation Scheme – you will have dealt with the Barrow-in-Furness office. The planned closure of this site will mean that a wealth of expertise is lost.
The Barrow office is a small team of people who really understand your needs and identify with you
The small staff team there understand the needs and difficulties you face. They pride themselves on turning around in record time claims for people diagnosed with an incurable illness. Many of you will have been amazed how quickly you received news of your awards.
Dealing with cases like yours is complex work requiring special knowledge and expertise
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and the Workers’ Compensation Scheme are unique benefits. They are also complex. Specialist knowledge is needed to process them quickly and efficiently. They also provide important recognition that asbestos related diseases are caused by work.
The small team at Barrow had the flexibility to help mesothelioma patients through COVID without creating new delays
Staff at Barrow-in-Furness have demonstrated a particular understanding of mesothelioma. At the start of COVID they agreed a policy to ensure that mesothelioma patients could continue to have their benefits dealt with quickly by allowing advisers from help groups like ours to sign the paperwork for you. Their unique understanding of the issues that you face led to this flexible approach.
If the work is moved to a big office the service is likely to get worse and cost more money
Having to train new staff in the DWP’s mega processing centres like Barnsley will inevitably lead to delays and may result in more wrong decisions because each member of their new team is likely to deal with fewer cases like yours. Flexible arrangements like the one agreed during COVID are also likely to become a thing of the past.
We would like you to support the campaign to keep open this vital service.
Please write to your MP
- Explain that you are a patient, a present or former carer, or a family member of someone diagnosed with an asbestos related disease
- Share your concern about the proposed closure of the DWP Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit site based at Phoenix House, Barrow-in-Furness
- If your case was dealt with quickly and efficiently, please tell them this
- Warn them that future patients diagnosed with the same disease may not have the same good experience if this office is closed
- Remind them that appeals against incorrect decisions will inevitably increase the cost to the government far more than any savings that the DWP is likely to make
If you need help identifying who your MP is please contact us on our helpline or by email.
An open letter to the secretary of state
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum will be sending an open letter to the Secretary of State, please contact us if you are willing to add your name to this open letter.