Opening of Troubles pension scheme delayed by 2 months

The opening of the pension scheme for victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland has been delayed by a further two months.

Already a year behind schedule, the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme was meant to open for applications on 30 June.

However, this has now been pushed back to 31 August to allow victims to “familiarise” themselves with the “complex and detailed” guidance on how the level of permanent disablement is to be assessed.

The guidance is expected to be published on 30 June.

This is not the first time the introduction of the pension scheme has been delayed, with the High Court in Belfast ruling in August 2020 that the Northern Ireland Executive Office acted “unlawfully” in delaying its opening.

In February 2021, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Northern Ireland Executive Office had a legal duty to fund the scheme, following rows between Stormont and Westminster over who was responsible for payments and which victims should be eligible.

Commenting on the decision to delay the scheme opening until August, Victims’ Payment Board president, Justice McAlinden, said: "I realise that this short delay will be disappointing to some of the many victims who have struggled long and hard to get the recognition and payments to which they are entitled.

"However, it is important that applicants and those supporting them should have appropriate time and information to engage effectively with the scheme and familiarise themselves with the guidance.

"The board feels that to open on 30 June risks causing additional harm by raising expectations that applications need to be submitted immediately after the medical guidance is available."

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