§ 64. Mr. W. BAKER
asked the Minister of Pensions, with reference to the practice of his Department to commence payment of the pension awarded from the date of the hearing of the appeal before the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, whether, seeing that in some cases, on receipt of a complaint from the British Legion or other responsible body, his Department has issued instructions for the arrears to be paid from the date upon which the application was submitted to the Appeal Tribunal, he will, in justice to all appellants, issue instructions that awards shall date from the day on which the application was submitted?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of PENSIONS (Lieut.-Colonel Stanley)
The hon. Member is, I think, under a misapprehension as to the practice of the Ministry. Where the verdict of an Appeal Tribunal involves an award, or an increase of an award of pension, such award is payable not, as suggested, from the date of hearing, but from the date of appeal. Where, however, in the case of a final award, the Tribunal set aside the award on the ground that the case is not yet suitable for final settlement, any award that may subsequently be made in accordance with the finding of the medical board of the Ministry is allowed to date from the date of the Tribunal's decision instead of, as would otherwise be the case, from the date of examination by the medical board. The fact that, in certain exceptional cases it has been shown that the award should equitably be paid as from an earlier date, does not, in my opinion, warrant an alteration of the general rule.
I do not think they do. I do not think that anyone who approaches the Minister through a member of the British Legion gets any different treatment
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Is it not contrary to justice that when a man has been refused his pension and an appeal is entered that he should not get his payments for the gap between the date when he first put in his appeal and its decision? That is, surely, very unjust?
A man can appeal the moment he hears about his first award. He does not have to frame his appeal, he merely has to make a statement that he does intend to appeal.
It is not a question of how long it is before the appeal is heard. If he makes out an appeal, that is sufficient. He does not have to wait until the appeal has been heard.
Is not the hon. and gallant Member aware that cases have remained from October till February—that though a man was awarded 100 per cent. pension, was restored to full pension, he lost the pension from October to February because of the board not having sat?
If the hon. and gallant Member will inform me of the case, I will look into it. If he will read my answer he will see that where the verdict of an appeal tribunal involves an award or an increase of an award of pension, such award is payable not, as suggested, from the date of hearing, but from the date of the appeal, that is, the time when he first decided to appeal from the decision.