Vaccine Damage Payments – A Guide

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

A Guide to the Payment Scheme if you are severely disabled as a result of vaccination against specific diseases.

What is the scheme

The scheme from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides a tax-free lump sum of £120,000 for a person who is (or was immediately before death) severely disabled as a result of vaccination against specific diseases. It is described in the leaflet Vaccine Damage Payments (see below)

You could get a payment if you’re severely disabled and your disability was caused by vaccination against any of the following diseases:

  • diphtheria
  • haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB)
  • human papillomavirus
  • influenza, except for influenza caused by a pandemic influenza virus
  • measles
  • meningococcal group C (meningitis C)
  • mumps
  • pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 (swine flu) – up to 31 August 2010
  • pertussis (whooping cough)
  • pneumococcal infection
  • poliomyelitis
  • rotavirus
  • rubella (German measles)
  • smallpox – up to 1 August 1971
  • tetanus
  • tuberculosis (TB)

You may have had a combined vaccination against a number of the diseases listed. For example, you might have been vaccinated against DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) or MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

You may also be able to get a payment if you’re 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 had an oral vaccine against poliomyelitis

Who qualifies for a Payment

People damaged before birth as a result of vaccinations given to their mothers during pregnancy are included in the scheme, as are those who have contracted polio through contact with another person who was vaccinated against it using an orally-administered vaccine. The claimant must also satisfy the following conditions.

  • The vaccine must have been given in the UK or the Isle of Man (except for serving members of the forces and their immediate families vaccinated outside the UK as part of the service medical facilities, who are treated as if vaccinated in England).
  • The vaccination must have been given either when the claimant was under 18 (except for rubella, poliomyelitis, meningococcal group C, pandemic influenza A (HINI) 2009 virus and human papillomavirus) or at a time of an outbrak of the disease within the UK or Isle of Man.
  • The claimant must be under the age of 2 on the date of the claim, or, if they have died, the date on which they would have attained that age, or up to six years after the date of the vaccination, whichever date is later.
  • In the case of someone who contracted polio through contact with another person who was vaccinated against it, they must have been ‘in close physical contact’ with the other vaccinated person during the period of 60 days which began on the 4th day after the vaccination. They must also have been ‘looking after’ the vaccinated person or been looked after jointly with them.

What is Severe Disablement

A person is considered to be severely disabled if the disablement due to vaccination damage is assessed at 60% or more. Disablement is assessed in the same way as for industrial injuries disablement benefit.

How do you Claim Vaccine Damage Payment

Get the leaflet Vaccine Damage Payments and a claim form by writing to or ringing the:
Vaccine Damage Payments Unit
Palatine House,
Lancaster Road
Preston, PR1 1HB
Telephone: 01772 899 944 Textphone: 0845 60 45 312

You can also download a claim form from:

Don’t delay in claiming. If you already have supporting medical evidence send a copy with the claim. Otherwise, the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit will obtain medical evidence on your behalf. If the disabled person is under 18, the claim should be made by the parents or guardian

When 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 in writing.

What if you are Refused a Payment

If your claim is refused, you will be sent a written decision with reasons. If you disagree with this decision, you can ask the DWP to consider a reversal of the decision or you can appeal to a First Tier Tribunal. There is no time limit for making your appeal.

Payment Decision Reversals

If you want the DWP to consider a reversal of their decision or the decision of a tribunal, write to the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit requesting a reversal, giving reasons why you think the decision is wrong, within six years of the date you were notified of the original decision or within two years of the date you were notified of the tribunal decision, if that is later. You may provide new evidence in support of your request.

Payment Reconsiderations

If the DWP has made a payment, the decision can be reconsidered at any time if they have reason to believe there was a misrepresentation or non-disclosure of relevant information.

Do Vaccine Damage Payments Affect other Benefits

The capital value of a vaccine damage payment held in a trust fund is ignored for the purposes of income-related employment and support allowances (ESA), income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), housing benefit and council tax benefit. If the payment is not to be held in a trust fund, it’s capital value can be disregarded for up to 52 weeks from the date of receipt. After that it will be taken fully into account.

Any regular payments made out of the trust fund to or for the disabled person are ignored for the purposes of income-related ESA, income support, income-based JSA, housing benefit and council tax benefit. Other lump-sum payments will be treated as capital and will reduce benefit if the payments bring the total capital above the lower capital limit.