Patients with incurable asbestos-related cancer have seen processing times for benefits and government compensation double  

Mesothelioma patients have seen an increase in processing times for applications from 24 days in 2022 to 48 days in 2023

New research from Mesothelioma UK, the national asbestos-related cancer charity, has confirmed that times for processing benefits and government compensation claims for mesothelioma patients have doubled within a year. This is also our experience at Asbestos Support Central England.

How the process is supposed to work

Claimants with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers are entitled to have their application fast tracked by the DWP. However, records have shown sharp increases in processing times for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) claims, the government lump sum payments under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (PWCA) and the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme.

What the research shows is actually happening

According to Mesothelioma UK records, IIDB application processing time* has increased from 24 days in July-September 2022 to 48 days in October-December 2023. PWCA/2008 Scheme application processing time has increased from 31 days in April-June 2023 to 60 days in October-December 2023.

Mesothelioma is a cancer related to exposure to asbestos and predominantly affects the lining of the lungs. The UK has the highest incidence of the disease in the world with around 2,500 people diagnosed each year.

Liz Darlison, CEO of Mesothelioma UKWhat MesoUK and Asbestos Central England have to say about this

Liz Darlison, CEO of Mesothelioma UK, said: “This means that people with mesothelioma, who can have a very poor prognosis, are facing unnecessary delays and stress in accessing the financial support to which they are entitled. Many people with mesothelioma rely on this benefit and lump sum compensation to help them cover the financial costs of their illness. Some people with mesothelioma are dying before their claims are even processed.”

She said, “Mesothelioma UK works closely with asbestos support groups around the country and we understand they are all experiencing similar problems.”

Neil Bishop, manager of Asbestos Support Central England,  said: “I can confirm that we are experiencing similar lengthening delays, although we don’t have the resources to carry out the same kind of detailed research. It is very frustrating for our staff, and very upsetting for our service users. And it is not just patients with mesothelioma who are affected, but also people with asbestos-related lung cancer. Their claims should also be fast tracked but the term is now laden with unintended irony. Some claims have taken more than six months to resolve!”

Immediate action is required

Liz said, “We urge the government to take immediate action to address this unacceptable situation, and to ensure that the fast-track process for mesothelioma claims is restored to its original efficiency and effectiveness.”

*Application processing time as defined by Mesothelioma UK is the time from the postal date of the application forms to the date the applicant receives their award letter.

About Mesothelioma UK

Mesothelioma UK is the national charity for anyone affected by mesothelioma. It supports people with mesothelioma to live better and live longer and to prevent mesothelioma happening to future generations. Although based in Leicestershire, the MesoUK team includes over 30 specialist nurses based in NHS trusts across the country. This includes Sophie Phillips, who works in our region. Find out more at

How we work with MesoUK

Asbestos Support Central England works closely with Sophie to provide wrap-around care and support for people with mesothelioma.