Vaccine Damage Payment
If you're severely disabled as a result of a vaccination against certain diseases, you may be able to get a Vaccine Damage Payment, the one-off tax-free payment of £120,000.
Who can claim
You may be able to get a Vaccine Damage Payment if you're severely disabled and your disability was caused by vaccination against any of the following diseases:
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- rubella (German measles)
- tuberculosis (TB)
- haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB)
- meningococcal group C (meningitis C)
- pneumococcal infection
- human papillomavirus
- pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 (swine flu) - up to 31 August 2010
- smallpox (up to 1 August 1971)
You may have had a combined vaccination against a number of the diseases listed, for example DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) or MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).
You may also be able to get a payment if you're thought to be severely disabled because either:
- your mother was vaccinated against one of the diseases in the list while she was pregnant
- you've been in close physical contact with someone who's been vaccinated against poliomyelitis with vaccine that was given orally
What counts as 'severely disabled'
Disablement is worked out as a percentage, and 'severe disablement' means at least 60 per cent disabled. This could be a mental or physical disablement.
For example, total loss of sight or hearing is usually counted as 100 per cent.
When and where the vaccination must have taken place
To be eligible for Vaccine Damage Payment, you must normally have been vaccinated before your 18th birthday. This does not apply if the vaccination was during an outbreak of disease in the UK or the Isle of Man, or it was against:
- Meningococcal Group C
- human papillomavirus
- pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 (swine flu)
The vaccination must have been given in the UK or the Isle of Man.
If the vaccination was given outside the UK, you may still be able to get a payment if you were vaccinated as part of Armed Forces medical treatment.
When to claim
If you're claiming on behalf of a child, you must wait until they're at least two years old.
The claim must be made by whichever is the later of the following dates:
- on or before the disabled person's 21st birthday (or if they've died, the date they would have reached 21)
- within six years of the date the vaccination took place
How much do you get
The amount is £120,000, tax free.
How it's paid
You'll get payment direct to you or, if you're under 18 or can't manage your own affairs, payment will be made to trustees.
If you live with your family, your parents may be appointed as trustees.
Effect on other benefits
Your Vaccine Damage Payment can affect other benefits and entitlements like:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance
The effect the payment will have depends on a number of things, including if the payment is put into a trust and the payments made from it.
You should let the office that deals with your benefit or tax credit claim know if you've got a Vaccine Damage Payment and they will be able give you more information.
How to claim
You can contact the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit to ask for a claim form:
Vaccine Damage Payments Unit
Palatine House, Lancaster Road
Preston, PR1 1HB
Telephone: 01772 899 944
Textphone: 0845 60 45 312
Lines are open 8.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Friday
Or download a claim form to print off and fill in.
If you're under 18, your parent or guardian should claim on your behalf.
What happens after you've sent off the claim form?
Once your claim has been received, the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit will get medical evidence from the doctors or hospitals involved in your treatment.
A claim will be successful if it's accepted that:
- your disablement was caused by vaccination
- the level of your disablement that can be directly attributed to the vaccination is at least 60 per cent
The result of the claim will be given to you in writing.
How to appeal
If your claim is turned down and you disagree with the decision, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again by the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit, or you can appeal to an independent First-tier Tribunal. If you disagree with the decision of the First-tier Tribunal you can ask for the decision to be looked at again by the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit or you can request an appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
If you think that relevant information has not been taken into account or new information becomes available you can ask for the decision to be looked at again by the Vaccine Damage Payments Unit.
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