Letter: Assistance is available to victims in form of pension scheme

A letter from Emma Little Pengelly:
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The victims pension scheme was a significant step forward in delivering for the needs of victims.

It was finally established despite Sinn Fein’s attempts to frustrate and delay, eventually requiring the courts to overrule Michelle O’Neill’s obstruction. The payment of £27million to date will have provided much-needed assistance to people, many who were either left unable to work or had their career disrupted through injuries they received.

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Is vital that anyone eligible for these payments applies. The scheme has been open for more than two years now, and whilst there have been over 5,000 applications, this undoubtedly does not represent everyone who is eligible. That only around 300 of the applications made under the scheme do not include some form of psychological injury highlights the huge challenges posed by the long-term mental health impact of the Troubles. Given the problems people face in securing a diagnosis, including of PTSD, the issue cannot be underestimated.

Officials have taken on board issues around delay and enhancing communication and further measures are being implemented in relation to concerns that have been raised. We acknowledge that many of these applications include complex issues. It is important however, that those who are eligible for the payment make an application, and know that assistance is available to help.

Emma Little Pengelly, Lagan Valley DUP MLA