Update on a Pension for the Severely Injured

More must be done to help those who lost the ability to work, their potential for economic activity and the ability to accrue pensions as a consequence of severe physical injury during the conflict.

That is why a pension for severely injured victims and survivors remains a key priority for the Commission for Victims and Survivors.

One of the ways we continue to prioritise the issue is through the Pension and Need group, which is made up of current and former members of the Victims and Survivors Forum. The group meets regularly to advocate for the pension and to maintain positive relationships with key decision-makers in government.

What advice did the Commission give to government?

The Commission has strongly advocated for a pension for the severely injured since our formal advice and research was submitted to OFMDFM in April 2014.

The advice paper includes the following:

  • The pension should not be means tested if it is to be a true form of reparation to the injured.
  • Pension payments should not impact on other state benefits.
  • Individuals who are physically or psychologically injured as a consequence of a conflict related incident are eligible
  • The pension should pay benefits for the life of the eligible recipients and for their spouses, dependents and carers

Are all the details of the pension complete?

The Commission has done a lot of work on the detail of the pension in terms of cost and other matters, but the final mechanics of how a pension may be administered haven’t yet been agreed by ministers so there are no guarantees. The main task is to find a way to bridge the political barriers to agreement by the two main parties.

We have had numerous meetings with political representatives, including a meeting in June this year with the five main political parties. At that meeting, all parties indicated support for the pension but acknowledged the continued disagreement over eligibility for support. 

Is the pension being decided by the government at Westminster or in the Northern Ireland Assembly?

At this time, the pension still remains as a devolved matter and therefore no progress can be made in the absence of a First Minister and Deputy First Minister at the Executive Office.

However, the Commissioner, Judith Thompson discussed the issue of the pension directly with the Secretary of State at meetings with him. She reiterated the need for the pension to be implemented in parallel with the other legacy bodies proposed in the Stormont House Agreement which are to be progressed through Westminster following public consultation later this year.

Find out more

The Commission provided advice to the First and deputy First Minister in 2014  - it can be downloaded here.