Less than a tenth of victims apply for ‘Troubles pensions’

Only less than a tenth of terrorist victims have applied for ‘Troubles pensions’, a victims’ lobby group has revealed.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 7:59 am

Ulster Human Rights Watch said that according to the Victims’ Payment Board a total of 2,600 applications for the pension scheme have been lodged so far.

The Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment opened a year ago and eligible recipients can get payments from between £2,000 and £10,000 a year.

UHRW Manager Axel Schmidt said they estimate that the total number of innocent victims of terror eligible for the scheme is in the region of between 26-30,000 people.

DUP MLA for Foyle Gary Middleton

He said the scheme had deemed 45 cases eligible for payment. Of the 2,6000 applications, 900 of them are with the firm Capital for medical assessment.

“There is a very long way to go to get financial help to people who desperately need it,” he said.

He continued: “This was never going to achieve overnight success. However, it is disappointing that so few have met with threshold for the Troubles Permanent Disablement Scheme so far.

“Even the figure of 2,600 applications falls far short of the number of innocent victims of terrorism who are out there suffering in silence.”

Mr Schmidt said: “We cannot leave anyone behind. As a society, we owe it to innocent victims to do all we can to help. They didn’t ask to be burdened with life-changing physical and psychological injuries as a result of the actions of terrorists.

“The Victims’s Payments Board is ramping up activity and my hope is that we will see a more streamlined and faster process in place.”

The DUP also expressed disappointment that so many eligible victims are missing out on the pension scheme.

Foyle MLA Gary Middleton said: “As we approach the first anniversary of the scheme opening for applications it is important that the factors behind this are properly analysed by the Department of Justice. “

Mr Middleton urged victims to come forward in larger numbers to obtain their payments.

“Anyone caught in an incident during the Troubles should consider making an application if they were injured as a result.

“The figures are not demonstrating that applications are being rejected by the scheme, but simply that the vast majority of those who would have been considered eligible have not applied.”

The News Letter is awaiting a response from the Victims’ Payment Board.