Reduced Earnings Allowance
- Conditions of entitlement
- How and when to claim
- How claims are decided
- The decision on your claim
- How much benefit you will get
- How you are paid
- If your circumstances change
- Effects of REA on other benefits
Conditions of entitlement
Reduced Earnings Allowance (REA) is a separate benefit to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. It can be paid on its own or in addition to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. REA was introduced from 1 October 1986 and replaced Special Hardship Allowance (SHA). [Legislation (81)]
REA can be paid on top of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. If you do not get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit because your disablement is less than 14% you can still get REA as long as your disablement is assessed at 1% or more.
REA compensates for the loss of earnings’ capacity where, as a result of an industrial accident or disease, you are unable:
- either to return to your regular occupation
- or to carry out other work producing the same level of earnings.
There is no entitlement to REA for an accident which occurred on or after 1 October 1990. [Legislation (81)]
- or a prescribed disease with a date of onset on or after 1 October 1990
- or a prescribed disease which was added to the list of prescribed diseases on or after 10 October 1994 irrespective of the date of onset
- or an extension to a prescribed disease made on or after 10 October 1994 irrespective of the date of onset.
To be entitled to REA you must satisfy the following conditions:
- have an assessment of disablement of at least 1%
- be incapable of following your regular occupation as a result of the relevant loss of faculty
- be incapable of work of an equivalent standard which is considered suitable in your case and:
- either are likely to be permanently incapable of following your regular occupation (known as the permanent condition)
- or at all times since the end of the 90 day period (excluding Sundays) following the date of accident or date of onset of the prescribed disease, have been incapable of your regular occupation or suitable alternative employment (known as the continuous condition).
A regular occupation must be gainful employment, but it does not have to be employed earner‘s employment. This will occur when the work done at the time of the accident was employed earner‘s employment but it was not your regular occupation.
A regular occupation for a prescribed disease is normally the occupation which caused the disease.
Whether other employment is of an equivalent standard depends mainly on whether the pay is comparable. But your chances of promotion to higher paid work in your regular occupation can also be taken into account in some circumstances.
Only employed earner’s employment can be considered as employment of an equivalent standard. [Legislation (82)]
If you gave up an occupation because of the relevant loss of faculty due to the prescribed disease for which you have an assessment, that occupation can be your regular occupation even if you stopped following it before the prescribed disease was:
- added to the list of prescribed diseases
- altered to include your work.
Your occupation may be treated as your regular occupation if you:
- had to give up an occupation because of the effects of an industrial accident or prescribed disease
- and subsequently receive a disablement assessment for that accident or disease [Legislation (83)]
If you are suffering from pneumoconiosis and the doctor who examined you for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit purposes gave advice about the conditions in which you should work, there are rules which may help you qualify for REA if you leave your regular occupation. You will usually be regarded as unable to continue in that occupation or to do work of an equivalent standard. This will apply even if the doctor advised that you could continue in your occupation in suitable dust conditions.
If you have more than one accident or prescribed disease, you can claim REA for each accident or prescribed disease.
How and when to claim
Contact your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Centre for a claim form BI103.
- You can also download form BI103 (239KB)
The date of your claim is the date your fully completed claim form is received in an office of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) . It is very important that you carefully fill in all the details on the form and return it to your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Centre as soon as possible. [Legislation (84)]
Claim as soon as you think you meet the rules for the allowance. Do not delay claiming until the result of your Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit claim is determined, as you could lose benefit for any period more than 3 months before the date of claim. [Legislation (85)]
If you want help filling in your claim form, contact your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Centre.
How claims are decided
When you have completed the claim form return it to your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Centre
Your papers are then sent to medical services for advice on whether:
- you are capable of following your regular occupation
- the date from which you are incapable of following your regular occupation
- you are temporarily or permanently incapable of following your regular occupation
- you are incapable of alternative remunerative employment
- if you are not completely incapable of work, what limitations, if any, exist which restrict the type of work you can do.
The decision maker will use this advice to determine whether or not you have any entitlement to REA.
The decision on your claim
We may contact your current or previous employers to obtain employment and earnings information about
- your regular occupation
- your present occupation
- any occupation you have had since your accident or disease.
If your regular occupation no longer exists, your earnings may be calculated by referring to an index based on the changes in the level of earnings as published in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.
REA will be awarded for a limited period. At the end of this period, we will invite you to make a renewal REA claim unless your assessment of disablement was final and expires at the same time as the REA award.
We will send you a renewal form before your award ends. If you were entitled to REA on 30 September 1990 and you subsequently cease to be entitled for one or more days, you cannot again become entitled to REA for that accident or prescribed disease. You should complete and return the form as soon as possible to avoid any delays in payment or a possible permanent loss of your entitlement to REA. You must still complete a renewal form even if payment is temporarily suspended for any reason. The decision maker will decide:
- whether up-to-date medical advice is needed
- if further employment enquiries need to be made.
If you disagree with the decision
How much benefit you will get
The amount of REA payable is the difference between your earnings in your regular and alternative occupations. There is a maximum amount of REA payable, even if the difference in earnings between your regular and alternative occupation is greater than this amount.
This maximum is equivalent to the 40% rate of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. [Legislation (86)]
If you receive more than one REA award, the maximum amount of REA and any Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit you can receive equates to the 140% rate of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
You will be notified of the amount of benefit you are entitled to.
REA under the Industrial Injuries Scheme can be paid as well as an allowance for a lower standard of occupation under the War Pension scheme.
REA, like most social security benefits, goes up from time to time, but your REA will not be increased if before 9 April 1989 you:
- received REA
- and retired for social security purposes.
If you reach pension age now, your entitlement to REA is transferred to entitlement to Retirement Allowance if you are not in regular employment. [Legislation (87)
- See ‘Retirement Allowance’.
How you are paid
Our policy is to pay all benefits directly into an account.
This is the safest way to pay you and lets you choose how and when you get your money. You can use a bank or building society.
You may be able to use a cash machine, which will usually mean you can get your money at any time of the day or night.
There are arrangements with banks and building societies so that you can collect cash from some of their accounts at your Post Office® branch.
The Post Office® also provides a bank account that we can pay benefits into. With this account you can only collect your money in cash from Post Office® branches.
The other advantages of having your money paid into an account are:
- you can get your money from many different places
- from some accounts you could have regular bills paid. This could save you money but you will need to make sure that there is enough money in your account to pay the bills. If not, you may be charged a fee
- using an account may help you save.
The account can be:
- in your name, or
- in the name of your partner. We use partner to mean a person you are married to or a person you live with as if you were married to them, or a civil partner or a person you live with as if you are civil partners, or
- in the names of both yourself and your partner, or
- in the name of the person acting on your behalf, or
- in the names of both yourself and the person acting on your behalf.
Benefit is paid either every 4 weeks, every 13 weeks or every week.
If you have a bank or building society account but you do not wish to use it, for example a joint account, any bank or building society will help you open an account that suits you better. Remember to ask whether their accounts allow you to get your money from the Post Office®, if this is important to you.
Basic bank account
If you have had problems opening a current account, or if you are worried about being overdrawn, you could ask any bank or building society about opening a basic bank account.
These are sometimes called introductory or starter accounts and are available from all major banks.
These accounts offer free banking but overdrafts are not available.
You can use these accounts to pay money in, pay bills automatically and get cash out.
Many basic bank accounts also allow you to get cash from Post Offices®.
If your circumstances change
- you stop or start working
- or your earnings alter
- or you change occupation
- or you are over pension age and stop working an average of ten hours a week
- or you stop or start getting Incapacity Benefit
you must tell your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Centre straight away, as your award may be affected.
You must also tell your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Centre straight away if:
- you marry, remarry or form a civil partnership and change your name
- you change your address
- you leave the country
- you go into prison.
If you leave the country
If you go abroad to a country where there is no reciprocal arrangement and the European Union (EU) regulations do not apply, REA can be paid for the first 3 months abroad if:
- your stay is temporary
- your stay is not for business purposes in any way
- the claim for REA was made before you went abroad.
To qualify for REA when you return to the UK, you must have had title to REA throughout your stay even if REA is not paid during part of the absence. If title to REA is not maintained you may not be able to receive REA again.
If you go to prison
If you are imprisoned you cannot get REA. You must tell your Regional Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Centre when you are admitted and when you are released. [Legislation (89)]
If you die
If you die, someone should let us know straight away.
Effects of REA on other benefits
Your REA does not affect any other National Insurance benefits such as:
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance (contribution-based)
- Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Retirement Pension.
But REA may affect income-related benefits you or your partner receive such as:
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Universal Credit.
Note: You will have to contact your local authority to confirm if any reduction you or your partner receive in your council tax bill is affected.