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Department of Social Protection Launches Scheme to Reclaim Benefits

A new Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme has been launched by the Department of Social Protection to reclaim benefits.

The Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme was introduced on the August 1st.  The Department of Social Protection (DSP) initiative was created to help the DSP  to recover welfare benefits paid to plaintiffs in cases where the benefits relate directly to their claim.

Under the new scheme, if a settlement of compensation has been agreed  to by the plaintiff (and approved by a judge if necessary), the negligent party´s insurance company (or State Claims Agency) will have to apply to the DSP for a statement showing how much welfare payments have been received by the injured plaintiff over the previous five years.

The insurance company/State Claims Agency will then deduct the amount of the welfare payments from settlements of medical negligence compensation, send the repayment of the benefits to the DSP. The remainder of the compensation settlement will then be sent to the plaintiff when a certificate of payment has been received.

Plaintiffs looking for medical negligence compensation often face significant and debilitating delays. The DSP is allowed up to four weeks to send the insurance company/State Claims Agency the statement of benefits. After this, the insurance company/State Claims Agency must submit the repayment of welfare benefits to the Department and wait for a certificate of repayment to be returned.

The balance of the compensation settlement can only be sent to the injured plaintiff when a certificate of payment has been received. Depending on the efficiency of the DSP, the insurance company and the State Claims Agency, settlements of medical negligence compensation could be delayed by up to three months.

The DSP has released a list of allowances which are subject to the new rules, including:

• Invalidity Pension

• Disability Allowance

• Illness Benefit

• Injury Benefit

• Partial Capacity Benefit

• Incapacity Supplement

Injured persons considering making a claim for compensation should note that the receipt of welfare benefits does not disqualify you from claiming medical negligence compensation.

Plaintiffs waiting for settlements of medical negligence compensation should also be aware that the repayment of any welfare benefits you may have received is not your responsibility.

If you have any questions about the new procedures relating to settlements of medical negligence compensation, how to check any welfare deductions are accurate, and what to do if you believe they are wrong, please consult with a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.

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