What benefits can I claim after a work accident?

Updated: September 1, 2020

If you have been injured at work, or have had to take time off work due to a work-related illness, you may be able to claim certain benefits. These benefits are intended to support you while you are unable to work.

Government benefits

There are several main government schemes, including:

Statutory sick pay (SSP)

Statutory sick pay, or SSP, is the legal minimum amount of sick pay that your employer must pay to you if you are unable to work due to injury or illness.

Am I entitled to receive SSP?

To be eligible for SSP, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • You must have started work for your employer. You cannot claim if you accept a position but become sick before your first day at work.
  • You must be sick for at least 4 full days. This includes non-working days. You will be able to claim sick pay for these four days.
  • You earn at least £120 per week. The £120 can be an average if your hours vary, and is before tax.

There are some restrictions on who can claim SSP, including:

  • Self-employed workers cannot claim
  • Some agricultural workers cannot claim
  • Members of the armed forces cannot claim
  • You cannot claim if you have claimed Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the last 12 weeks
  • Workers receiving maternity pay or Maternity Allowance cannot claim SSP

Self-employed workers who are unable to work due to illness or injury, however, can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You must also follow the procedure set out in your employment contract or by your employer to notify the company that you are sick. For example, you may have to send a note from a GP to confirm you are unable to work. Some employers only ask you to confirm that you are sick in writing or by email.

Can I claim compensation if I am self-employed?

What if my employer doesn't have a sick pay procedure?

If your employer doesn’t have a set process in place for claiming SSP, you should tell your employer that you are sick as soon as possible. You should inform your employer of the first day you were sick, even if this is a Saturday or Sunday, as this would be when the 4-day count starts.

You should confirm that you are sick in writing (called “self-certification”), within 7 days. If you are sick for longer than 7 days, you should get a note from your GP.

How much statutory sick pay will I get?

Statutory sick pay is £95.85 and is paid weekly. Depending on the terms of your employment, your employer may have its own sick pay scheme, but you must receive at least £95.85 a week.

How long can I claim SSP for?

You can claim SSP for a maximum of 28 weeks. You may be able to claim sick pay from your employer for longer, if a longer period is set out in your contract.

Industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB)

If you are injured at work, or you develop an illness or disability due to your work, you may be able to get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). You can also claim IIDB if you were injured or became ill during a work training scheme.

IIDB is a “no-fault” scheme. “No-fault” means you don’t need to prove anyone was to blame for the accident.

The amount you receive depends on how serious your injury or disability is, and IIDB is paid weekly.

Can I claim IIDB?

IIDB is only available for certain injuries and health conditions. Whether you can claim IIDB will depend on the cause of your condition.

In some cases, whether you are eligible will also depend on your occupation at the time the injury or illness was caused. Self-employed workers cannot claim IIDB.

Diseases and health conditions

The IIDB scheme covers a wide range of illnesses and health conditions, referred to as “prescribed diseases”. These include:

  • Vibration white finger (VWF)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • Hearing loss
  • Cataracts caused by exposure to red-hot or white-hot glass or metal
  • Some types of osteoarthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Work accidents

You should be able to claim IIDB after a work accident in any of the following circumstances:

  • You were injured doing something you were employed to do
  • Your work was inherently dangerous, or put you at special risk
  • You were helping during an emergency at your workplace

Even if you don’t meet any of the above criteria, you may still qualify for IIDB. You may still be eligible if what you were doing at the time of the accident was done for the benefit of your employer’s business, or the accident was caused by a co-worker’s behaviour, for example.

You can claim for almost any physical injury, provided that it has caused you some amount of disablement. This disablement could be permanent or temporary. You may not be able to claim for more minor injuries.

For example:

  • If you have suffered a severe leg injury that has left permanent symptoms and loss of movement, it is likely you can get IIDB.
  • If you suffered a back injury and were bed-ridden for months, but the injury was not permanent and left only minor ongoing symptoms, you could still be entitled to IIDB.
  • If you suffered a hand injury or leg fracture that healed within weeks leaving little or no permanent symptoms, you may not be able to claim.

Asbestos-related conditions

You can also claim for conditions caused by exposure to asbestos, including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung carcinomas. You may also be able to claim for pleural thickening.

How much disablement benefit can I claim?

When you apply for IIDB, a medical professional will assess your level of disablement, giving a number between 1% and 100%. You can usually only receive IIDB if a medical advisor assesses your injuries and level of disablement as being over 14%.

The below amounts are a guide only:

Level of Disablement Amount
100% £182
90% £163.80
80% £145.60
70% £127.40
60% £109.20
50% £91.00
40% £72.80
30% £54.60
20% £36.40

You can ask for an examination at home if you cannot travel.

You can also bring any evidence of the seriousness of your condition, and the medical practitioner may also request your hospital notes to complete their assessment.

To claim IIDB, you can complete a form on the gov.uk website, or request a form by phone from the IIDB Centre.

Find out how much you can claim:

Carer's allowance

If you are caring for someone else who has suffered a work-related injury or health condition, you may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance is paid weekly at a flat rate of £67.25.

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance?

You must be providing care for someone for at least 35 hours a week. Care includes helping with cooking and washing, shopping, cleaning and other household tasks.

The person you care for must also be receiving disability benefits such as Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.

To claim Carer's Allowance, you must also:

  • Live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Not be in full-time education, or studying more than 21 hours a week
  • Earn less than £128 per week, after-tax
  • Aged 16 or over

If you do receive Carer’s Allowance, any other benefit payments you get may be affected.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have an injury, illness or disability that affects your ability to work.

Can I apply for ESA?

In general, yes. You can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), if:

  • you are under the State Pension age, and,
  • you have an injury, illness or disability that affects your ability to work

However, you cannot claim ESA if you are already receiving sick pay or Jobseeker’s allowance.

Other government schemes

There are, or have been, a range of other government benefits and compensation schemes for injured workers, including:

  • Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments Scheme
  • Vibration White Finger Compensation Scheme
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Scheme
  • Agricultural Sick Pay (ASP)

Many of these schemes only apply to specific jobs or illnesses, and some are time-limited. Certain schemes will end on a set date (or have already ended, meaning you can no longer apply).

Should I also claim compensation?

Benefits like SSP and IIDB help support you while you are unable to work. However, benefits cannot fully compensate you for the harm and other losses you have suffered.

By law, if you have been injured at work, you may be able to claim compensation. The law recognises that the damage cannot be undone, so a financial award is paid to you instead, in the form of compensation.

Unlike benefits, a compensation claim award should compensate you fully for the pain, suffering and financial losses you have experienced.

You should also be compensated for lost wages if you have been unable to work during your recovery. You can claim for future lost earnings if your injuries mean you can no longer work.

Read more: Can I claim work accident compensation?

Could a claim affect my benefits?

A compensation claim will not affect your right to SSP, and the medical evidence gathered during the claims process can make it easier to claim certain benefits. Equally, claiming benefits can make it easier to claim compensation, as you will already have gathered medical records and other notes to support your claim.

However, if your total household capital (including income and savings) is over £6,000, you cannot claim certain means-tested benefits. A successful injury claim could affect your existing benefits if you get the compensation payout in a lump sum, and the sum means your household is over the £6,000 limit.

Means-tested benefits that could be affected include Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and some medical benefits, like free prescriptions.

Who pays for work injury compensation?

Compensation is usually not paid out by the government or by your employer directly.

By law, the company must have Employers' Liability (EL) insurance. Your compensation is paid out under this EL insurance policy.

Have you been injured at work?

If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

Find out more about making a work accident claim:

  • Do you qualify?
  • How much compensation could you get?
  • How does No Win, No Fee work?
Work accident claim guide