Direct compensation payments are made from the Article 2 Fund and the Hardship Fund. The Claims Conference negotiates on an ongoing basis with the German government to include additional Nazi victims in compensation programs, increase payments, and provide increased funds for social services.
As in many countries, the U.K. is feeling the effects of the international economic downturn. Severe cuts in interest rates mean the returns on savings on which many people rely have been greatly reduced. Similarly, investments and property prices have been reduced. Driven by the increased costs of oil, utility bills have risen and so has the price of food.
All this affects members of the agencies helped by the Claims Conference. It is now more difficult to secure care packages from local authorities, and when they are put in place the number of hours provided is less than in previous years. Municipal budgets have been reduced with further cuts expected in the future. Additionally, the cost of specialist medical consultations has increased in recent years by as much as 20 to 25 percent per appointment.
The Claims Conference supports various services provided by an umbrella group comprising social service agencies in the U.K. working with Jewish Nazi victims. Nearly 400 Nazi victims are receiving homecare with Claims Conference funds through the umbrella network of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), which is composed of the following Jewish social service agencies: AJR, Agudas Israel Community Services, Bikur Cholim, and and Jewish Care/Shalvata.
More than 1,000 Nazi victims attend meetings of AJR’s outreach program, which enables the agency to identify and provide social services to increasing numbers of needy survivors living in communities throughout the country. Social Work Teams provide home visits to assess current needs, provide appropriate referrals, monitor follow-up and provide continuing support to needy Nazi victims, including new ones identified through the outreach program. Claims Conference support also helps the umbrella group provide meals on wheels and a medical program.