Payments to those injured during the Troubles should be tiered depending on how badly hurt they are, the victims’ commissioner has said.
Legislation must be passed at Westminster to introduce a pension for the most severely and permanently afflicted, Judith Thompson added.
Survivors of the conflict have been pressing ministers to act for years.
Ms Thompson said: “While there are political sensitivities around eligibility for a pension this move has the support of all political parties in Stormont and in Westminster and I am clear that these recommendations are a fair and reasonable response to supporting the needs of those who suffered the most.
“There is now a moral obligation on government to ensure this modest pension arrangement is introduced as quickly as possible to allow those people who qualify to access it as quickly as possible.
“Their suffering increases by the day and their time is running out.”
Ms Thompson recommended the pension be paid in a tiered approach according to the severity of injury and backdated to the December 2014 Stormont House Agreement.
The commissioner’s advice was published today.
She said it progressed the agreement of local politicians to support an acceptable way forward to implement the proposal for a pension.
The commissioner added the pension would provide a degree of financial security while recognising the acute and enduring harm suffered by individuals and their families, often for many decades, as a consequence of the legacy of the conflict.
“The determination, resilience and endurance of victims and survivors in the face of the most adverse circumstances is inspirational and the implementation of this pension is the recognition they deserve.
“We cannot allow this to continue to be a political football and the government cannot kick this issue down the road any longer.”
Progress at Stormont stalled over the inclusion of a small number of perpetrators of violence who suffered injuries among those eligible.