What is the Compensation Recovery Unit?


Learn more about the Compensation Recovery Unit and how compensation payouts could affect your benefit payments. For more information about personal injury claims, see our full Resource Library


The Compensation Recovery Unit, or CRU, is a part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and works directly with insurance companies and solicitors to recover any benefits you may have received from the State as a result of your injury from your compensation payout.

The CRU works on the basis that you should not be compensated twice for the same accident, injury or disease you have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence.

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How does the compensation recovery process work?

When you are awarded a compensation payout, the person/organisation who has to pay the compensation (the ‘compensator’) is required to inform the Compensation Recovery Unit of the details of the payout and the payee prior to making any payment.

The CRU will then respond to the compensator and send a certificate of recoverable benefits to them detailing how much benefits, if any, should be taken out of the payout and paid back to the Department of Work and Pensions.

The amount of recoverable benefits will be equal to the amount of related benefits the Claimant has received from the day after they sustained their injury to the date of the compensation payout, or up to five years – which is earlier. If the compensation claim is for a disease (e.g. asbestos) then the amount is calculated from the date the related benefit was first claimed.

On receipt of the certificate of recoverable benefits the compensator must pay the stated amount to the DWP before the final compensation payout is paid to the Claimant.

Compensation Recovery Unit – recoverable benefits

All compensation payouts tend to consist of General and Special damages, which cover loss of earnings, the cost of care required, the loss of mobility and the pain and suffering caused by the injury.

If the Claimant receives and form of benefit payout to cover their loss of earnings, cost of care or loss of earnings then these may be recovered by the CRU.

These benefits could include:

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


A Claimant may receive a compensation payout for their loss of earnings, so any Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) that they have already received as a result of their injury may be recovered by the CRU. The person or company paying the compensation (usually an insurance company) would therefore pay the requested amount to the CRU and reduce the Claimant’s compensation payout by the same amount.

When the Compensation Recovery Unit receive part of a compensation payout then a full breakdown of what they have been paid must be sent to the Claimant.

Can I dispute the amount of benefits recovered?

If you think the amount of benefits listed by the Compensation Recovery Unit on the certificate of recoverable benefits then you can ask for a review – which is known as a ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’.

The request for reconsideration must be made within one month from the date the compensator paid the benefits back to the DWP. If you have any evidence to support your dispute of the benefits paid back (e.g. medical reports, statements etc…) then this should be sent at the same time along with your Mandatory Reconsideration request.

The CRU will then carry out a full review of all the evidence and can do one of three things: change the certificate (i.e. issue a partial refund), revoke the certificate (issue a full refund), or confirm the certificate as correct. There is then an option for the Claimant to appeal the decision, which must be done within one month of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice being sent.

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