- By Jayne McCormack
- BBC News NI political correspondent
More than £25m has been paid out under the Troubles victims pension scheme since it launched two years ago.
Payments have been made to 465 applicants so far, with a further 239 deemed ineligible.
The Victims’ Payment Board, which administers the fund, said rejections were largely down to applications not meeting criteria.
Its secretary Paul Bullick said expectations need to be “managed” about what the board can deliver.
There have been almost 5,500 applications to the scheme to date, with about 1,000 awaiting a decision.
Criticism from victims’ groups
So far about 90 appeals have been lodged against a determination made by the board.
Some victims’ groups have been critical of the decision-making process and the length of time it takes.
Mr Bullick said he fully understood those frustrations but added: “This isn’t a scheme that you apply to, and you have a decision or a determination or a payment out the door in six weeks.
“We’re going back some 50 years in some cases, if not more. We have many multiple incident applications, which and we are at the mercy of our evidence providers.”
He said the board is changing the application form to make it easier for victims to initially provide more information and have their case assessed quicker.
The scheme will be open in total for five years from the date it first launched on 31 August 2021.
Asked about the possibility of budget pressures affecting the scheme’s future, Mr Bullick said money is currently ring-fenced.
“I’ve had no indication that the funding is at risk. The government has given their assurance this money will continue to be made available.
“I’d like to think more money will be paid out to victims who deserve it as time goes on.”