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Ambrose unveils details of compensation plan for thalidomide survivors

NDP leader Tom Mulcair stops to speak with Mercedes Benegbi who is a thalidomide survivor and executive director of the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada in the foyer of the House of Commons Monday January 26, 2015 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The federal health minister has unveiled the details of a multi-million-dollar compensation package for thalidomide victims.

Rona Ambrose says 92 eligible survivors have now received a one-time, tax-free payment of $125,000 to cover their immediate needs.

WATCH: Funds for thalidomide survivors

Those payments were promised back in March as part of a $180-million pledge of support to people whose mothers had taken the drug while pregnant in the 1950s and 60s.

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That announcement had also committed to yearly support payments and an extraordinary medical assistance fund and Ambrose has now revealed more specifics on how that money will be allocated, starting next year.

READ MORE: Ottawa to compensate thalidomide victims with $125K each

She says those eligible for yearly payments will receive either $100,000, $75,000 or $25,000 per year, tax free, depending on how their existing condition is assessed by a third-party administrator.

An additional $500,000 has been set aside in the emergency fund designed to cover extraordinary medical expenses.

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