TROUBLES PERMANENT DISABLEMENT PAYMENT SCHEME (TPDPS)
The scheme has been designed to provide those who suffered severe permanent disablement (either physical or psychological) as a result of an injury caused through no fault of their own, in a Troubles-related incident. The payments are primarily an acknowledgement of the acute harm which they have suffered.
It will also provide a measure of recognition of the implications of living with a permanent disablement caused by a Troubles-related injury and the associated impact of such disablement, and recognition that in many cases coping with disablement caused by the serious injury, had an adverse financial impact on individuals and their families.
WHAT IS MEANT BY SERIOUS PERMANENT DISABLEMENT?
The 2020 Regulations state: “permanent”, in relation to disablement, means where, following appropriate clinical management of adequate duration, an injury has reached a steady or stable state at maximum medical improvement’. Any disability, whether physical, psychological, or both, will be assessed, together with medical evidence, by a Medical Professional. They will use a model that calculates a percentage disability and your disablement which will have to be assessed at 14% or more to qualify.
WHAT IS MEANT BY A TROUBLES RELATED INCIDENT?
There will be some incidents that are clearly troubles related and others that might be less so. The Victims Payment Board has powers to consider whether or not an incident is ‘troubles related’ and as the applicant you will need to provide evidence to show that it is. The law defines a Troubles Related Incident as; “an incident involving an act of violence or force carried out in Ireland, the UK or anywhere in Europe for a reason related to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland or to political or sectarian hostility between people there.”
WHO CAN APPLY?
Anyone who was born in Northern Ireland or who was a British Citizen at the time of the Incident(s), that occurred between 01/01/1966 and 12/04/2010* in the UK or Europe. The permanent injury (physical and/or psychological will only be considered to be caused by a Troubles-related incident if it was suffered by that person when
- a) present at a Troubles related incident;
- b) present in the immediate aftermath, of a Troubles Related Incident in which a loved one died or suffered injury.
- c) Responding in course of employment, to a Troubles Related Incident, in which the person reasonably believed a loved one had died or suffered an injury.
You can also make a claim if you were a close relative (spouse, civil partner, cohabitee) or acted as unpaid carer, to a person who would have qualified for the Scheme but who has since died. Only one such person can be awarded under the Scheme.
*The Victims Payment Board can accept cases outside these date in exceptional circumstances.
ARE THERE EXCLUSIONS ON WHO CAN APPLY TO THE SCHEME?
A criminal records check will be undertaken for each applicant to the scheme as part of the assessment process for each application. You will not be entitled to payments from the scheme where the Board considers that your relevant conviction (defined as a conviction excluded from rehabilitation) makes entitlement to payments inappropriate. Convictions excluded from rehabilitation are generally convictions carrying sentences of longer than 30 months and so cover the most serious crimes that have been committed. More information can be found on the VPB website.
In addition, you will not be entitled to victims’ payments where the President of the Board considers that the exceptional circumstances of the case, having regard to material evidence, make entitlement to victims’ payments inappropriate.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL I NEED TO DISCLOSE?
We expect that you will have to provide as much detail on the troubles related incident(s) as you can to allow the Board to verify the Incident and your presence at it, e.g. the date and location of the incident(s); whether you reported the incident to the police or attended hospital, your GP or received compensation.
Information about the injuries you sustained at the time of the incident or arising from it; any treatment you have received, or are still receiving.
The effect of your injury on your daily living and mobility
Your condition may have deteriorated with time, or it may have directly caused another medical condition or your injury may have made a pre-existing medical condition worse. These factors would then be relevant in the disablement assessment.
DO I NEED TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE WITH MY APPLICATION?
It will be helpful to submit information you have in your possession relating to the injury and/or incident. So for instance, you could include any documents regarding compensation received for your injuries, a police report or a newspaper cutting in which you are named or medical reports relating to your troubles related injury. If you do not have this type of evidence, do not be concerned, the VPB will seek it on your behalf. When you make an application to the Victims Payment Board, VPB requires applicants to sign the declaration to confirm that they understand that VPB could seek additional information from other organisations, government departments or the police, should the Board consider it necessary to do so. In practice, the VPB will only seek to obtain additional information from other sources if they consider the information submitted by the applicant to be insufficient to evidence, for example, their presence at a Troubles-related incident. If the applicant provides such information along with their application, and the Board is satisfied with this, then requests to other information sources may not be required.
WHAT EVIDENCE COULD I OBTAIN NOW, WHICH MAY HELP MY APPLICATION?
The disability assessment will consider the effect the injury has on your daily living needs and mobility; aids and adaptations you use; difficulties you have using aids or adaptations;
medications and treatment and planned future treatment. Medical evidence obtained for the purposes of disability benefits e.g. PIP, DLA, ESA; Attendance Allowance may be useful for your TPDPS application as it often covers these issues. Requesting copies of the evidence used in the last three assessments for each disability benefit you claim may be useful. The Welfare Rights worker at WAVE will be happy to assist you to obtain this information when we contact you about your case.
VSS Evidence: If you received services or grants from VSS in the past, they may also hold information, which may be of assistance. To obtain this information you will need to submit a subject access request (SAE). The SAE form is available on the VSS website or the Welfare Rights worker at WAVE can send this to VSS on your behalf.
Newspaper articles: these may be of value if you are named in an article as being injured at a scene. Local libraries may be of assistance in locating these and we will also be happy to provide you with advice and assistance on gathering evidence when we discuss your case with you.
WHEN CAN I APPLY?
The Scheme is now open. The application form and guidance notes are available on the Victims Payment Board website. However, an application can be made up to 5 years from this date. It is important not to rush your application as you can only apply once. It is important to gather all supporting evidence as the onus of proof is on the applicant, to show they were:
Injured in a Troubles related incident which fits the criteria of the legislation); and
The injury is permanent and
The disability caused by the injury has resulted in at least 14% disablement.
It will be important to provide as much detail in your application as possible to give you the best chance of success. As this is a new scheme, and one which will involve a medical assessment, it may take some time for applications to be processed.
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPLICATION?
The Victim’s Payment Board would prefer applicants to make their application online and upload any supporting evidence, this will also be the quickest way to have your application registered. Download the application from www.victimspaymentsboard.org.uk. If you prefer you can complete a paper application form. Welfare Rights workers at WAVE Trauma Centre can assist you with either type of application.
IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED TO MAKE AN APPLICATION
For paper and online applications: You will need at least 2 forms of ID.; a Birth Certificate, Photo ID. You will need to send in /upload certified copies of these documents. Your Welfare Rights Adviser at WAVE can certify the documents for you.
Online applications: If you are going to complete the online application, you will need to first sign up for an online nidirect account. You will need an email address to do this when the scheme opens.
If you are applying on behalf of someone who was injured but has subsequently died, you will need to provide your own information as above, as well as proof of your relationship to the deceased (e.g. marriage certificate), a copy of the person’s death certificate and potentially a copy of their will or grant of Probate.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I HAVE SUBMITTED MY APPLICATION?
If you have applied online, you will receive an automated email confirming that you have submitted your form and giving you a case reference number. You will still be able to view your application by logging onto the nidirect portal. If you have applied using a paper form, you will receive an acknowledgment from the Victims Payment Board.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
It is hoped that most decisions can be reached without a face-to- face assessment being necessary; however, in some circumstances you may be invited to attend an assessment with a Medical Professional from Capita to discuss the impact of the Incident(s) on your physical and mental health. The process for TPDPS Assessments is different from the PIP Assessment and involves different staff. We have been informed they will have at least 2 years training in mental health, and trauma training. We will provide you with further information on this when we contact you. We will be monitoring the Scheme closely to ensure that all victims and survivors are treated with care, empathy and compassion. The Board will use the report compiled by Capita together with any other sources of evidence to determine if you meet the criteria of the scheme.
IF I AM ENTITLED TO A PAYMENT, HOW WILL THIS BE MADE?
The payment will normally be made monthly although in some cases it may be paid as lump sum. The payment will be backdated to 2014 provided you are assessed as at least 14% disabled from that time. If you live in the UK any payment or lump sum you do get will be ignored for the purposes of any means tested Social Security benefits you may be entitled to.
WILL PREVIOUS COMPENSATION OR OTHER PAYMENTS I RECEIVE DUE TO MY INJURY AFFECT MY TPDPS AWARD?
If you have previously received compensation in respect of the Incident(s) the Board will look at this and your award may be reduced. All mitigating factors will be taken into account.
The Board will adjust awards directly for ongoing payments for the same injury through other public sector schemes. More information on this is available on the VPB website. Payments of DLA, PIP or ESA will not affect an award, nor will earnings. All awards are ignored for the purposes of means tested benefits.
CAN I APPEAL A DECISION?
Yes, there is an appeals process whereby a decision of the Board can be challenged, and further advice and assistance can be obtained from Welfare Rights Officers at WAVE.