Close to 1,600 victims of terror attacks have applied to the Financial Assistance Commission for compensation, according to the Justice Department.
By the end of December 2019, 1,000 people had requested such assistance from the State but the number shot up when, in January, the Justice Department stressed that the deadline for filing compensation claims for some victims would expire in March 2020.
On 15 March 2017, 13 attacks in Belgium and abroad were officially recognized as acts of terrorism. The list includes the attacks at Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek Subway Station on 22 March 2016, the Jewish Museum of Brussels in May 2014, Susa Beach, Tunisia, on 26 June 2015 and Nice, on Bastille Day in 2016.
Victims of these attacks had three years from the date on which they were recognized as terrorist acts to lodge requests for financial assistance.
On 21 January, the Justice Department recalled that the three-year deadline expired on 18 March. At that time, over 1,000 files were being processed and over four million euros had already been approved by the Commission.
“Between the 1st of January and the 18th of March, about 500 new applications were submitted by terror victims,” said Sieghild Lacoere, spokesperson for Justice Minister Geens. “That brings the number of terrorism files to around 1,600.”
“The Financial Assistance Commission does not award full compensation, but a just financial assistance,” the Justice Ministry explained. “Since the financial aid is complementary, the Commission also takes into account the possibility of compensation from other sources, such as life insurance or medical insurance companies.”
“Victims who file demands for financial assistance also automatically apply for national solidarity status, enabling them namely to obtain disability pensions or have their medical expenses reimbursed.