Department for Work and Pensions
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Miners' knee victims to get government help
Thousands of miners suffering from Osteoarthritis of the knee, commonly known as 'Miners' Knee' will be able to claim help from the Government, it was announced today.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell confirmed that osteoarthritis of the knee would be added to the list of 'prescribed diseases' meaning that sufferers would now be able to apply for State compensation through the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said:
"It is right that this help should be available to coal miners who are suffering from this painful condition following years of hard work. This disease has made life very difficult for a large number of retired miners and forced others to end their working life earlier than planned, so I am pleased that we are now in a position that we will be able to offer them valuable financial assistance."
Kitty Ussher, DWP Parliamentary Under Secretary is on a visit to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield today to make the announcement. She said:
"I'm very pleased that this help is now available to those miners who, through no fault of their own are afflicted with this condition. We estimate that thousands of former miners will now be able to benefit from this aid."
Ministers have decided to act on the recommendation from the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council, that coal miners with the disease who have worked underground for ten years or more should be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
Symptoms of the disease include pain, swelling, stiffness and reduced mobility. The change is expected to come into force in the summer.
Note to editors
1. "Osteoarthritis of the knee in coal miners" (Cm. 7440 is available from the Stationery Office. Price £5.15, ISBN 978-0-10-174402-7, or from IIAC's website http://www.iiac.org.uk/new/.asp.
2. The Industrial Injuries Advisory council is an independent statutory body set up in 1946 to advise the Secretary of State for Social Security on matters relating to the industrial injuries scheme. This includes making recommendations to Ministers whether a disease should be added to the list of diseases for which industrial injuries disablement benefit can be paid ('prescribed diseases'). The Council consists of a Chairman and about 15 members, including representatives from employers and from employees.
3. Prescription of a disease means that is covered by the industrial injuries benefit scheme and that an employed earner who has contracted the disease through certain jobs work may be able to get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.