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If you currently receive state funded benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance or similar, making a claim for personal injury compensation could affect the amount of benefits that you receive. Benefits claimants are only allowed a certain amount of savings or income before they would be deemed to have too much to claim full benefits, or even reduced benefits. Of course, unless you know how much personal injury compensation you will receive, it is impossible to answer exactly as to whether or not your benefits claim would be affected.
The amount of compensation
The majority of personal injury compensation settlements settle at a relatively low value of £3,000 or under. For example, minor whiplash claims where an injury settles in 6-8 weeks would fall below this figure. If this was the case, a benefits claim would not be affected. However, in claims where the claimant has been more severely injured and the value of any claim has been maximised by an expert solicitor, a claimant would likely be pushed beyond the income bracket in which benefits claims are assessed.
Most people would think it is fair enough that if you become ‘wealthy’, even if via the misfortune of having to claim compensation for an injury, that you should no longer get benefits – they are, after all, for people on hard times. However, if you had a huge settlement of millions, it wouldn’t really matter. Where it is a problem is when people receive smaller settlements of say £10k or £20k. Whilst it’s a lot of money, it’s not life changing and won’t last forever. Therefore, losing a chunk of or all of your benefits would be a real blow. However, there are ways of mitigating the risk of a settlement affecting your benefits.
Seek advice for your particular situation
Anyone injured in a non-fault accident should pursue their legal right to seek compensation regardless of any benefits they receive. At Direct2Compensation, we can help you to understand whether claiming compensation could have any undue effect on your existing benefits claim. We are able to link you with specialist financial advisers in order that any larger settlement values can be handled in the most tax efficient way, and where possible in ways that do not disrupt or damage any existing claim for benefits.
If you would like to find out a little more about how you could claim compensation after an accident and not lose your benefits entitlement, just drop us a line on 01225 430285 or send us your details via the contact page, we’ll be happy to discuss your circumstances in confidence and help you to better understand your situation.
Be smart with your claim
We don’t feel that it is fair that a personal injury claimant has to sacrifice an existing income in order to obtain compensation for the injuries that they sustained, unless of course, a claim value is extremely high and the level of damages paid out would take care of all future requirements of the injured claimant for the rest of their life.
It pays to be smart with your claim. Our solicitors will help you to ensure that you have access to the right advice and support so that any existing benefits claims are not affected unless the law requires them to be. Often they will advise that if you win your claim for compensation, you should agree to take a small settlement immediately (one that would not go above the maximum savings threshold) and that the rest should be placed in to a trust fund. This would allow you to receive a small amount every year so that you can retain your existing benefit payments whilst enjoying your settlement for longer.
The UK Government website has more information on how benefits are affected by compensation claims. If you are concerned about a claim affecting your benefits, you shouldn’t let it stop you from claiming what you are entitled to.