The deadline to apply for the Residential School Common Experience payment is coming up quickly, and former students who fail to make an application by Sept. 19 will miss out.

The payment is just one element in the residential school settlement that was reached between the federal government, the churches and aboriginal groups.

In the North, the number of people who have applied for the payment is much lower than the government expected, according to Steven Cooper, a lawyer who has been fighting on behalf of residential school survivors since 1998.

Only 25 to 30 per cent of the people who are eligible for the payment have applied, Cooper said, adding the reason could be why the paperwork is formatted.

"The vast majority of residential school survivors are older than 50 and certainly many are older than 80 and into their 90s," he said, "and if they were to look at this they'd be intimidated."

However, he added, there is little reason for concern.

"Most of the document is just information," he said. "Just two pages of the 11 pages have to be filled out, and they're simple things: What's your name; where do you live and where did you go and how long did you stay there?"

Cooper said there is no need for applicants to add any information about abuse they may have suffered during the residential school experience.

Eligible former students could receive $10,000 for the first year attended and then $3,000 for each additional year at residential school.