Ex-service personnel suffering from Mesothelioma could lose their right to compensation this April.
In December 2015, Government ministers changed the rules regarding compensation for ex-service personnel to allow them to take their compensation as a lump sum rather than as a pension after a rigorous campaigns from the Royal British Legion, the armed forces charity.
However this will only apply to those personnel who have been diagnosed since December. This means that those people who were diagnosed earlier, who are still suffering with Mesothelioma and in some cases, don’t have long to live, are ineligible.
Many personnel were exposed to asbestos while working in Royal Navy shipbuilding sites and by 2050, it is expected that around 2500 veterans will have died from the disease. Mesothelioma can take decades for symptoms to become apparent and once diagnosed, the patient usually has a year or so to live.
Campaigners who are trying to get the loophole changed have said the situation is unfair because civilians are always able to receive their compensation regardless of when they were diagnosed.
Blaydon MP Dave Anderson is leading a delegation to give the Prime Minister David Cameron a letter in the hope that the government will be able to close the loophole because the change comes into effect in April.
The letter said: “We request that all qualifying veterans be treated equally, regardless of the date of their diagnosis with Mesothelioma, as is morally required under the Armed Forces Covenent.
“We also request that the acquisition of equal treatment for both veterans and their widows/families, be pursued by ministers with all due haste, because people are dying.”
Mr Anderson said: “I’m very pleased that so many decent people are doing the honourable thing in seeking in measured and moderate terms to persuade ministers and officials to do justice to those who served their country and in return got a death sentence in the form of Mesothelioma cancer.”