The Ministerial Law Committee on Sunday authorized for presentation in the Knesset a bill that would provide legal aid to Holocaust survivors who are pursuing benefits they have not received. The aid would be given to all survivors, regardless of income or financial situation.
Currently there is an income test for such assistance. Many survivors have complained that the test is unrealistic, and that even though they don't qualify for legal aid, they cannot afford to pursue claims on their own.
All survivors will now be eligible for assistance in opening up a file to make claims with various agencies on compensation, whether ongoing or single-payment. Survivors will be able to hire a private attorney from a pool of qualified attorneys. Survivors who filed requests with the authorities responsible for compensation but were turned down will be able to consult with a lawyer on follow-up steps, along with assistance in filing appeals with district courts or even the High Court.
Attorneys working for the survivors will prepare all documentation and appear in court on behalf of their clients, with fees paid by the state.
Ofra Ross, director of the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, said that the law “is a step forward in easing the process for survivors to realize their rights."