HC Deb 04 May 1927 vol 205 cc1619-20
49. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the hardship caused by the Regulation of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act by which a person who is entitled to an unrestricted old age pension at the age of 70 by virtue of the Act, but fails to submit a claim for the pension within one month after attaining that age, can only receive pension as from the date on which the claim is made; what steps are taken to decide whether exceptional circumstances prevented the application being sent in on attaining the age of 70; and what conditions must be fulfilled in order that an application sent in after a lapse of one month from the date of attaining the age of 70 can result in payment of pension being retrospective?


Application for an old age pension may be made at any time not more than four months before the applicant reaches the age of 70, and the provision referred to by the hon. and gallant Member (which is an express provision of the Act, not dependent on Regulations) allows of payment from the age of 70 if the claim is lodged within a month after attainment of that age Further, in certain specified types of cases, where failure to make claim within the month was due to circumstances over which the claimant had no control, pension may begin on the date of reaching the age of 70. Any representations made by or on behalf of a claimant are carefully considered, and if dissatisfied with the decision he has a right of appeal to Referees appointed under the Act. In view of these facts there does not seem to be any ground for hardship. Up to date the number of late applications for old age pensions has been negligible.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Can the hon. Member tell me what kind of case is considered suitable for such a special concession? Is illness, for example?


Yes. There is the inability of the claimant to obtain a form, and there is the case of a person who owing to bodily or mental infirmity is not able to make a claim.

52. Mr. AMMON

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the comments of the Lord Chief Justice in giving judgment in the King's Bench Division in the case of Carling v. Lebbon, that it was an anomaly that a wealthy person could be insured on his life for a large sum of money without any extraneous happening being taken into consideration, whilst a poor person insured under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act has her amount of compensation reduced for the loss of her husband arising under the Fatal Accidents Act on account of prospective benefit under the former Act; and will he introduced early legislation to remove this grievance?


My right hon. Friend is aware of the comments made in connection with the case of Carling v. Lebbon, and, as stated in the answer given on 26th April, the matter has been noted for consideration when amending legislation is contemplated. My right hon. Friend cannot say when such legislation may be possible.


Can we be assured that this point will be borne in mind when the Government bring in the Bill to translate the recommendations of the Royal Commission on National Health Insurance into law? Can it be done then?


I doubt whether it can be done then. This is a matter which arises out of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act.


Is not this a matter of importance, seeing that this widow has been deprived of a considerable amount of compensation?


I have indicated that consideration of this matter will be given when the opportunity serves.