The Recoverable Benefits and Assistance Scheme, which came into force on 1 August 2014, requires the compensator in non-fatal personal injuries actions to reimburse the Department of Social Protection for certain social welfare benefits paid to the injured party. The maximum period of reimbursement is limited to five years.
“Recoverable benefits” include illness benefit, injury benefit and disability allowance. Previously, these benefits were typically deducted by the compensator from any loss of earnings claim made by the plaintiff but were not reimbursed to the Department.
Prior to making any payment of compensation, the compensator must now apply for a Statement of Recoverable Benefits received by the plaintiff and must reimburse this amount to the Department.
The implications for compensators resolving personal injuries claims remain to be seen. Practical guidance on the process is likely to be necessary.