Health Minister Robin Swann has urged people bereaved as a result of NHS contaminated blood to come forward for financial support.
Last year, the Health Minister announced that those bereaved would receive annual payments at 75% of the rate their deceased spouse / partner received (or was entitled to receive), backdated to April 2020.
As a result of a later UK-wide ministerial agreement, this financial support was extended to provide 100% of the infected rate for the first year followed by 75% in subsequent years, to be backdated to April 2019 for existing bereaved beneficiaries and any new applications that are made before 31 March 2022.
The payments, which are tax-free and increase annually in line with the cost of living, range from just over £14,000 to almost £34,000 annually, depending on their late spouse or partner’s diagnosis.
Minister Swann said: “ In recent months we have been able to make significant progress in providing improved financial support for those infected and/or affected by contaminated blood.
“I am aware however that there may still be some people who have not come forward to avail of the support they need and deserve in recognition of the devastating impact this has had on their lives.”
New bereaved beneficiaries have until 31 March 2022 to apply to the NI Scheme to receive support backdated to April 2019 for those who are eligible.
Anyone bereaved as a result of infected blood who comes forward after the 1 April 2022 cut-off point will still be eligible to apply, but payments will be applicable from the beginning of the financial year in which the application is made or the date of death, whichever is latest, and won’t be backdated to 2019.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Following an agreement with my UK counterparts last year, bereaved spouses and partners are now eligible to apply for increased financial support and I would urge those who are not already beneficiaries of the NI Scheme to contact the scheme as soon as possible as you may be eligible to receive payment.
“I remain committed to ensuring those affected by NHS contaminated blood continue to receive the support they need and in addition to the ongoing review, my department is ready to address any recommendations from the Infected Blood Inquiry, when it publishes its final report.”
The Infected Blood Payment Scheme for Northern Ireland can be contacted at:
Infected Blood Payment Scheme for Northern Ireland, Business Services Organisation, Finance Directorate, 2nd Floor, 2 Franklin Street, Belfast, BT2 8DQ.
Email: [email protected] or telephone: 028 9536 3817