Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it is “very important” that a stalled pension for Troubles victims begins as soon as possible.
NI Secretary Brandon Lewis is due to publish draft guidelines on the pension on Wednesday.
Sinn Féin said the guidelines go beyond what is in the legislation and argued they discriminate against ex-prisoners who were injured during the Troubles.
However, the Northern Ireland Office disagreed.
Along with the DUP, it has accused Sinn Féin of blocking the pension payments by refusing to nominate the Justice Department to oversee the scheme.
The draft guidelines on the Troubles pension will set out how a judge-led panel will decide who is entitled to payment.
During prime minister’s questions, DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson called on the government to push for the scheme to begin immediately.
In response, the prime minister said he believed the pension was a “fair, balanced and proportionate way” of helping all those who suffered in the Troubles.
“It’s very important that Sinn Féin along with all other parties allow the scheme to go forward as soon as possible,” he told the Commons.
Under previous draft guidelines leaked to BBC News NI, former prisoners who served more than 30 months could be refused a pension if there were no other mitigating factors.
The judge could use other “material evidence” to reject applications in “exceptional circumstances”.
But the Northern Ireland Office said only those injured by their own hand would be excluded.
Others with convictions can apply and the panel will assess their eligibility.
It is understood there will be no significant changes from the previous draft.
Lawyers representing some people intending to make applications for payments, have written to the secretary of state seeking a number of clarifications, including:
- If a claimant’s criminal record and sentencing remarks from their trials can be accessed by the Victims’ Payment Board;
- If “the PSNI or other security or intelligence agency receive notification when an application is made for a victim’s payment under the regulations, and if so, which agencies.
Earlier this week, BBC News NI obtained the three-page “confidential” draft set of guidelines circulated to all the Stormont parties.
The document also detailed the “guiding principles” the judge-led panel should use when assessing applications from those with a “relevant conviction”.
These are “generally convictions carrying longer than 30 months”.
They apply to the most “serious crimes such as murder, actual bodily harm etc”, the paper stated.
Under the guidelines, an application can also be rejected if the president of the board decides the “exceptional circumstances of the case having regard to material evidence” makes payment inappropriate.
That evidence includes:
- Recent terrorist activity as evidenced by the applicant being convicted of a Terrorism Act Offence;
- The applicant being a registered terrorist offender;
- Having a recent conviction for membership of a proscribed organisation;
- If the person caused wholly or in part the incident in which they were injured as evidenced by a case or action proven to a civil standard.
Sinn Féin said the guidelines go beyond what is in the legislation and argued they discriminate against former prisoners who were injured during the Troubles.
But the Northern Ireland Office disagreed and, along with the DUP, has accused Sinn Féin of blocking the pension payments by refusing to nominate the Justice Department to oversee the scheme.
The Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance have called for the payment scheme to be implemented immediately.
There is also gridlock over whether London or Stormont pays for the scheme, which is estimated to cost much more than the £100m stated.