10: Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme

Introduction

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) provides a single, tax-free payment. The VDPS payment is provided to people or their families who have suffered severe mental and/or physical disablement as a result of immunisation against one or more of the following diseases:
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    diphtheria
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    Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
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    measles
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    meningococcal group C
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    mumps
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    pertussis (whooping cough)
  •  
    pneumococcal infection
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    poliomyelitis
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    rubella (German measles)
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    tetanus
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    tuberculosis (TB)
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    smallpox - up to 1 August 1971
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    human papillomavirus (HPV)
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    pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 (swine flu) - up to 31 August 2010.
The scheme also covers individuals found to be severely disabled either because their mother was immunised against any of the specified diseases while she was pregnant, or because they have been in close physical contact with a person who has received an oral vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The payment is not compensation but is designed to ease the present and future burdens of the vaccine-damaged person and their family. The amount payable is £120,000 for claims made on or after 12 July 2007.
A decision to offer vaccine should be based upon the recommendations in the Green Book and not be influenced by vaccine’s eligibility for a VDPS settlement.

The decision-making process

Decisions on claims are based on an evaluation of the medical evidence by a Medical Adviser acting on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. The Medical Adviser considers whether, on balance of probability, the disability is the result of the immunisation. If the Medical Adviser considers that it is, they will advise the percentage level of disablement attributed to the immunisation.
If a claim is disallowed, the claimant may ask the Department for Work and Pensions to look again at the decision. The claimant can do this by writing to the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit, providing an explanation of why they believe the decision to be wrong. There is no time limit for seeking a reversal of the decision if the original decision was made after 28 October 2013, otherwise there is a six-year time limit. If they still disagree with the decision after this, they can make an appeal to an independent First-Tier tribunal.

Time and age limits

The disabled person must be over two years of age and must have been immunised in the UK or the Isle of Man. The scheme also applies to individuals or their families if one or any of the immunisations listed above were given as part of the Armed Forces’ medical services outside of the UK.
Claimants must have been immunised before their eighteenth birthday, unless the immunisation was against polio, rubella, meningococcal group C, human papillomavirus or pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 for which there is no upper age limit. In addition, individuals of any age are eligible if immunised against any of the other listed diseases during an outbreak within the UK or the Isle of Man.
The claim must be made within six years of the date of vaccination, on or before the disabled person’s 21st birthday, or, if they have died, the date on which they would have reached 21 years of age – whichever is the later.
Payments are made direct to disabled persons aged 18 or over who are capable of managing their own affairs. In other cases, payment will be made to trustees. If the disabled person lives with their family, the parents may be appointed as trustees. If the disabled person has died, payment will be made to their personal representative.

Assessment of disability

The assessment of disablement in the VDPS is based on the assessment of disablement laid out in the legislation pertaining to the Industrial Injuries Disablement Scheme. Under this scheme, 60% disablement equates to, for example, lower leg amputation, loss of one hand or deafness where the individual cannot hear a conversational voice beyond a distance of one metre. A vaccine-relevant example would be paralysis of a limb after oral poliomyelitis vaccine.
Medical Advisers who advise on claims under the VDPS are registered medical practitioners who have received special training in disability assessment and the assessment of disablement.

Further information and how to claim

You can obtain more information about eligibility for the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme and how to claim at: https://www.gov.uk/vaccine-damage-payment
The leaflet Help if you’re ill or disabled (DWP014) also provides information about the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/help-if-youre-ill-or-disabled
Claimants can get a claim form by contacting the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit:
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    Vaccine Damage Payments Unit
     
    Department for Work and Pensions
     
    Palatine House
     
    Lancaster Road Preston PR1 1HB
     
    Telephone: 01772 899 944
     
    Textphone: 0845 60 45 312
The claim form is also available for downloading and printing from the website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccine-damage-payment-claim-form
A payment under the VDPS can affect other benefits and entitlements including Income Support and Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. Claimants should inform the office that deals with their benefit(s) if they are in receipt of a VDPS payment. More information can be found on the website: https://www.gov.uk/vaccine-damage-payment/overview
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