Belfast Telegraph

Troubles victims 'to be spared DLA check-ups'

BY DAVID YOUNG

People seriously injured in the Troubles may be spared parts of a reassessment for disability benefits required under welfare reforms, Northern Ireland's Victims' Commissioner has told MLAs.

Kathryn Stone said she and members of the Victims Forum group were working with the Department for Social Development (DSD) to ensure victims were not subject to any "humiliating" physical re-examination to justify State financial support.

More than half of working-age recipients of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are set to either lose out completely or experience a cut when it is replaced with the Personal Independence Payment (Pip) as part of Westminster's controversial welfare changes.

While DSD officials have insisted that those with serious injuries will not see their benefit reduced, and may actually have it increased, DLA recipients will have to go through a reassessment procedure to establish what level of Pip they are entitled to when the new payment begins in 2015.

Ms Stone, giving evidence to the first ministers' committee, said she had received positive feedback from DSD.

She said: "They don't want them to experience a humiliating and difficult physical re-examination when it's absolutely clear what's happened to them."

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