What is the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU)?

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When a personal injury claimant brings a successful claim for compensation it is possible that the State will seek to recover any related benefits already paid to the claimant from that compensation. This is based on the principle that a person should not be compensated twice in respect of the same accident, injury or disease.

The Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) works with insurance companies, solicitors and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to recover these monies.

How does it work?

When a claimant is awarded compensation, the compensator (the person or organisation likely to be paying the compensation) must tell the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) before any payment is made.

The CRU sends a certificate of recoverable benefit to the compensator and a copy of the certificate to the claimant. The certificate shows how much benefit, if any, the compensator has to pay back to the DWP.

This amount is equal to the total related benefit paid to the claimant from the day after the accident or injury to the date of the final compensation payment, or for up to five years - whichever is earlier.

Where the claimant has claimed benefit due to disease, the amount the compensator has to pay is calculated from the date that benefit was first claimed.

The money due for recovery is paid by the compensator to the DWP before the compensation award is settled with the claimant.

Which benefits may be recovered?

Compensation awards usually consist of 4 elements - loss of earnings; cost of care; loss of mobility; and pain and suffering. Benefits already paid to meet the first 3 elements may be recovered by the CRU.

These benefits may include:

  • Disability Working Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Unemployment Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Reduced Earnings Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Sickness Benefit
  • Statutory Sick Pay paid before 6 April 1994
  • Unemployability Supplement
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Invalidity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Universal Credit

For example - if a claimant was awarded compensation for loss of earnings, any Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) already paid as a result of the incident may need to be recovered. The compensator would reduce the loss of earnings element of the compensation by the amount of JSA paid.

A breakdown of any reductions to compensation payments must be sent to the claimant.

Is there any recovery in payment made for pain and suffering?

Generally there is no recovery of money from compensation paid for pain and suffering, but if a claimant has already received a lump sum payment under either the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme or the Pneumoconiosis etc, (Workers Compensation) Act 1979, then compensation may be reduced.

Does it apply to pensions?

Although retirement pension does not have to be recovered, any other related benefits listed being paid after retirement age may have to be paid back from compensation.

War Pensions from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency may be subsequently reduced because of compensation.

What can a claimant do if he does not agree with the recovery amounts?

If the claimant does not agree with the information on the certificate, he may ask for a review.

A claimant may also appeal, but only after the compensator has reduced the compensation. Appeals must be made within a month of the final payment being made to the CRU.

The recovery of state benefits, or 'recoupment' as it may be known, can be complicated.

To speak to someone about your own situation please call Quittance on 0800 376 1001.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor