The introduction of the Department of Social Protection´s “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” will delay receipt of compensation settlements due to the additional processes involved.
The “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” is a new scheme introduced as part of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013 that comes into force on Friday 1st August and which allows the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to recover selected welfare payments made to recipients of personal injury compensation.
The scheme will have no impact on how much compensation plaintiffs will receive – as under the current system welfare payments are deducted from settlements of compensation for loss of earnings – but it will delay the receipt of compensation from insurance companies, who have to go through an elaborate procedure in order to satisfy the new regulations.
Under the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme, insurance companies – or other parties responsible for paying injury compensation settlements – are required to apply for a statement from the DSP pertaining to the value of certain welfare payments a plaintiff has received in the previous five years. This statement should be released to the compensator within four weeks.
Thereafter, the compensator must then release the funds to the DSP and wait for a “recoverable benefits certificate” to be returned before making payment to the plaintiff. Depending on the efficiency of the DSP´s administrators, the delay in receipt of compensation payments could be as long as three months.
Copies of the benefits statement will also be sent to the plaintiff and the Injuries Board (in cases where the Injuries Board have completed an accepted assessment) detailing the deductions that are to be made under the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme – the “Certain benefits” being:
- Disability Allowance
- Invalidity Pension
- Injury Benefit
- Illness Benefit
- Partial Capacity Benefit
- Incapacity Supplement
It is important for a plaintiff to know it is not their responsibility to make payments themselves to the DSP and that an appeals procedure exists in the event that the value of welfare payments is contested. If there is any confusion over the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme, it is recommended to speak with a personal injury solicitor.