Death Certificates: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 27 May 2020.

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Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of recording covid-19 as the sole cause of death on the death certificates of former coal miners with industrial lung conditions on the (a) pensions and (b) entitlements of the wives of those former miners.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Under the terms of the Coal Industry Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme (CIPCS), formerly the Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme, there is provision for posthumous claims to be made.

In instances in which an individual was not assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) during life, or a retrospective request either is not possible or successful, a claim can be made under CIPCS, if pneumoconiosis appears on the Death Certificate.

IIDB which is usually claimed by employees who become disabled as a result of a prescribed disease or accident caused by their employment, can be claimed posthumously, by the dependants of anyone who dies whilst suffering from a prescribed disease, provided they do so within one year of the issue of the deceased’s death certificate.

Any evidence a family can provide that confirms or suggests that the deceased was suffering from a prescribed disease prior to their death would be considered as part of a posthumous claim. This includes claimants who may have died as a result of COVID-19, and no mention of the prescribed disease was on their death certificate.

For an award to be made, the death does not need to be in respect of the prescribed disease but may be from any cause, including for example where COVID-19 was a contributory factor. Payments to dependants usually equate to up to 3 months’ worth of benefit, but may sometimes be higher.

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