The application process for victims of historical and institutional abuse to claim compensation has opened.
It follows legislation passed at Westminster in 2019 that provided for a payment scheme to be set up.
The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.
The executive office said the coronavirus crisis meant processing payments would take longer.
Anyone who resided in an institution or home between 1992 and 1995 and suffered or witnessed abuse is eligible to apply.
Advice to victims and survivors is that they should contact a solicitor from home by phone or email.
There is a five-year window in which to make applications.
Applications can also be made on behalf of someone who has died if the relative is a spouse, civil or cohabitating partner or child.
The executive said it recognised that financial redress could not take away the harm people have experienced, but that payments were an acknowledgement of their suffering.
Margaret McGuckin, from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) said the group had been worried the Covid-19 pandemic would cause “even more desperation and despair amongst HIA victims who have been knocked about for a lifetime having to fight and lobby every step of the way to get justice.”
“We just hope and pray that this indeed will bring some hope and some joy to our most vulnerable people many who have, passed away or already given up in this torturous journey to get what is right and justly theirs.” she added.
The HIA Inquiry said all victims of institutional abuse should receive tax-free, lump sum payments ranging from £7,500 to £100,000 from a government-funded redress scheme.