I got benefits because I’ve always paid my taxes, etc. However, the other side have now offered me £20,000 – but want to deduct the £5,000 I’ve received in state benefits. Why should I get less compensation?


Many of my clients struggle to get their head around this concept. However, under the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997, because you received state benefits because you couldn’t work, he/his insurer have to repay the state for the benefits you’ve received.

Under the law, if you claim for loss of earnings and received Universal Credit for example, there will be an offset. If this didn’t happen, you would get too much. For example, if you had a loss of earnings claim of say £5,000 and got this plus the £5,000 in benefits, you’d be £5,000 better off as a result of the accident. Whilst that would be nice, compensation is designed to put you in the same place you were before the accident.

The only caveat I’d add is your solicitor does need to check what losses you’re claiming for and what benefits you’ve received, because each case is different, so an offset doesn’t always apply.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast

On 2 Wheels – January 2020