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Article did not tell the full story about reforms

I am writing with reference to Noel McAdam's article headlined 'Inside ... Welfare Reform' (Comment, December 20). This article was disappointing, as it had factual omissions.

The article failed to highlight that Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland also met the Victims and Survivors Commissioner, Kathryn Stone, on November 30, along with Lord Freud.

They discussed the importance of the existing financial support to help victims and survivors in their daily lives, assessment criteria for the new personal independence payment and how DSD could work with the commissioner in addressing the concerns of victims and survivors.

The commissioner subsequently described the meeting as very positive and further work is being taken forward by the department in conjunction with the commissioner's office. DSD is committed to ensuring necessary legislative provisions are in place under the Welfare Reform Bill (NI) 2012 to enable payments made by the Victims and Survivors Service to be disregarded for benefit purposes.

Some seriously injured victims and survivors currently receive funding from the Memorial Fund, which is treated as capital for benefit purposes, because it is to be used to purchase a needed piece of equipment.

This is similar to plans for the new arrangements and, while Mr McAdam's article focused on the potential for some benefits to be lost, it did not acknowledge steps being taken to support seriously injured victims and survivors.

BRIDGEEN REA

Senior information officer

Department for Social Development

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