Q. I was involved in a road traffic accident and put in a compensation claim for the injuries I sustained. I already receive Employment and Support Allowance benefit but it’s for a long term condition that is nothing to do with the accident injuries. I have been offered £4,000 compensation for the accident injuries but I am concerned that if I accept it the money will be sent straight to the Department for Work and Pensions and I will receive nothing. Will this be the case?
A. When someone claims compensation, the person or organisation paying out the compensation (the Compensator) must inform the Department for Work and Pensions of the claim made against them.
If the Claimant has received a social security benefit because of the accident, then the Compensator has to pay back to the DWP the amount of benefit received as a result of the accident. In your case, however, you have received the ESA for a reason other than the accident so you will be entitled to retain all of the injury compensation award, though it may count as capital in relation to means tested benefits.
You say you have been offered £4,000 as settlement of your claim but you do not say whether that is based on medical evidence provided in an expert medical report. If you have not obtained such a medical report you should do so before accepting any offer and seek advice from a local personal injury lawyer who will be able to assess from the report whether or not you require any further treatment for your injury. If you do require further treatment the lawyer can request that the Compensator organises and pays out for it. The lawyer will also be able to fully assess the true value of your claim.