Were you in the services and exposed to asbestos?

Ex-service men and women who were exposed to asbestos dust before May 1987 are unable to sue the State for compensation when they develop an asbestos related disease due to the rule of “Crown Immunity”. Fortunately, there is still hope. If you were exposed to asbestos before 1987, you are entitled to claim a War Disablement Pension through Veterans UK.

Asbestos Justice explains how you can claim extra financial support for your time serving our country.

Who are Veterans UK?vetUK-logo

The Veterans Agency operates within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) administering Armed Forces Pension Schemes. They provide a range of services including compensation payments and pension schemes to “a community of around 4.6 million veterans widows/widowers and dependants”. 

War Disablement Pensions Explained

If you are no longer serving in HM Armed Forces and you have a disability, physically or mentally,  that you believe was caused or made worse during your time of service before 6 April 2005, then you are entitled to claim for a War Disablement Pension. For this type of claim, there is no time limit, the only restriction is that you can only claim once your full service has ended.

Veterans-UK states those eligible are:

  • Injured or disabled through serving in Her Majesty’s (HM) Armed Forces, including The Ulster Defence Regiment, now known as the Royal Irish Regiment, the Home Guard and nursing and auxiliary services;
  • A civil defence volunteer (CDV) disabled through serving as a CDV;
  • A civilian disabled as a result of enemy action in the 1939 to 1945 war;
  • A merchant seaman, a member of the naval auxiliary services or a coastguard, and you were disabled because of an injury you received or a disease suffered because of conditions during a war or because you were a prisoner-of war; or
  • A member of the Polish Forces under British Command who served in the 1939-1945 war, or in the Polish Resettlement Forces and you were injured or disabled through this service.


How Much Could I Receive?

The amount you will receive depends upon your level of disability. The latest published figures for pension amounts are as follows :-

Level of Disability             Annual Rate                       Weekly rate 

100%                                     £9,298.00                             £178.20

90%                                        £8,369.00                             £160.38

80%                                        £7,439.00                             £142.56

70%                                        £6,509.00                             £124.74

60%                                        £5,579.00                             £106.92

50%                                        £4,649.00                             £89.10

40%                                        £3,719.00                             £71.28

30%                                        £2,790.00                             £53.46

20%                                        £1,860.00                             £35.64

War Disablement Pension for mesothelioma

Whilst the above table gives the War Disablement Pension amounts for most conditions, as of 15th December 2015, veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma have the option of receiving a pension or a one-off lump sum payment in the sum of £140,000.

How do I apply?

Applying for your War Disability Pension is made by filling out the correct form and posting this to Veterans UK.

The relevant application form can be downloaded, HERE.

Highest Risk Division in the Armed Forces

Veterans at the greatest risk of developing an asbestos-related disease were Navy Veterans. This is due to the high use of asbestos used to build the war ships and preventing/insulating heat inside the vessels themselves. Places such as the boiler and engine rooms, galleys and even the sleeping quarters were riddled with asbestos.


High Risk Occupations in the Armed Forces

Especially for those serving in the Navy, these were many jobs that involved coming in direct contact with asbestos or worked within a few feet of someone who was.

High risk occupations in the forces included:

  • Laggers
  • Dockyard workers
  • Plumbers
  • Pipe fitters
  • Electricians
  • Welders
  • Ship fitters
  • Boilermakers

Service Women and Asbestos Exposure

Much of the focus remains on men and their exposure to asbestos in the forces. However, women also suffered unknowingly at the hands of the deadly dust. Whilst men were more likely to come into contact with asbestos when stripping it, women were exposure during manufacturing products containing asbestos such as gas masks and asbestos mattresses. Female receptionists were also victims of secondary exposure to asbestos, many would inhale asbestos when dockyard workers entered the offices covered in asbestos.

Useful Contacts



Website: www.veterans-uk.info

Norcross, Blackpool, FY5 3WP

Tel: 0800 169 2277

The War Pensioners Welfare Service

Albert Bridge House, Bridge Street,

Manchester, M60 9DF

Tel: 0161 831 2195

For those who have suffered exposure to asbestos in military service after May of 1987 or were exposed to asbestos in a civilian capacity and go onto develop an asbestos related condition, you could be entitled to recover asbestos disease compensation. Contact Asbestos Justice on 0800 038 6767 for free legal advice.

Share Button