HC Deb 24 March 1938 vol 333 c1372
55. Mr. Cocks

asked the Minister of Health whether a woman of 65 who has neither seen nor heard of her husband for 24 years, despite all attempts to trace him, is permitted to presume her husband's death for the purpose of qualifying for an old age pension or a widow's pension, the said husband being an insured person at the time he deserted her in 1913?

Sir K. Wood

Where a woman claims a pension as the wife or widow of an insured man it is necessary to show that the husband was an insured person and satisfied certain contribution conditions on attaining 65 or at the date of his death as the case may be. While, therefore, it might be possible to presume the death of the husband in a case where he had not been heard of for many years, information as to his insurance at the date when he was presumed to have died would also be necessary.

Mr. Cocks

Seeing that the husband may have been killed in the Great War for all she knows, is it not open to her to get any of these pensions?

Sir K. Wood

I sympathise with the case of which the hon. Member has given particulars, and if he will let me have a look into the case, I will see whether anything can possibly be done.