VSS Grants

23rd May 2016

Victims & Survivors of the Northern Ireland Troubles who have been bereaved; injured – physically or psychologically; and carers for those injured in this way, may be entitled to financial support from the Victims and Survivors Service (VSS).

If you are already registered with VSS you will have recently received a letter about the grants available to you in the funding year 2016/17.  If you have NOT registered or know a family member who has NOT registered please get in touch with WAVE, as registration is straightforward.

The grants this year are as follows:

VSS GRANT TABLE.png

Click on image (above) for larger version

*The first payment of Financial Assistance is £350, with a second payment due by 30th September 2016 - this has yet to be determined.  Last year the total grant was £820.

In calculating Financial Assistance housing costs and rates are deducted from income.

Only ONE Financial Assistance Grant is paid per household

Disability Aids Scheme

VSS have informed us that a Disability Aids Scheme may open later in the year for the severely injured who may require equipment which would cost more than their current grant would cover, e.g. cost of a new electric wheelchair.  If you are severely disabled and believe that you could benefit from equipment or adaptations to help with your disability, please get in touch with your Outreach Worker at WAVE Trauma Centre so we can notify you if this grant is introduced later in the year.

WAVE Trauma Centre welcomes increased flexibility in expenditure of grants to meet the individual needs of victims/survivors

Following extensive lobbying by WAVE, we were pleased when VSS introduced more flexibility in grant expenditure to meet the needs of Victims/Survivors, particularly the bereaved.  Initially this flexibility allowed for expenditure on electric and heating costs instead of a ‘short break.’  However, since September 2015, VSS piloted a Caseworker approach which permitted wider flexibility to meet needs.  This was welcomed as many older applicants in poor health or those on a low income could not avail of a ‘short break’.  Clients who took part in the pilot spent their grant on their most pressing needs at the time, including redecorating their home; home repairs; car repairs; cookers/washing machines; television etc.  The Case worker approach which allows this wider flexibility will continue in this funding year.  If you would like to spend your VSS grant on something that is not on the list of eligible items which accompanied your award letter, just get in touch with an Outreach worker at your local WAVE Centre we will complete the necessary forms for you.

WAVE Trauma Centre would welcome further changes for those bereaved

Despite lobbying for increased grants to those bereaved in the Troubles, the grant has remained at £500 this year.  Many clients widowed during the Troubles struggled to raise young families on their own and often the compensation they received following the loss of their loved one was insufficient to meet their long term financial needs.  Now in later years, many struggle to meet their household bills on a single income, many of whom have no occupational pension.  We believe that widows/widowers of the Troubles should get a better package of care and we will continue to raise this issue.  As Carers can receive £500 cash payment from VSS, we see no reason as to why the bereaved cannot receive a cash payment too.  This would cut administrative costs and allow more money to get to more victims/survivors.

Changes needed for the Injured

WAVE is disappointed that grants for the ‘Injured’ continue to be linked to awards of DLA.  We believe that linking the awards to percentage disablement as a result of the N Ireland Troubles related injury would make a fairer and more equitable system, and we will continue to raise this issue. We hope there will be further work on this area going forward.