HC Deb 28 October 1943 vol 393 cc349-51
10. Sir Smedley Crooke

asked the Minister of Pensions the general principles on which pensions are awarded to parents of deceased members of the Forces where death is clue to war service?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Warnersley)

As the answer is somewhat long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The circumstances of individual cases vary considerably, but the following is the basis adopted, as regards issues common to the general run of cases, in deciding whether parents are qualified for an award of pension on the ground of need. Two main factors are involved, namely, the "means limit" appropriate to the individual case and the personal income of the parents; the extent of the deceased son's contribution to the support of the parents is taken into consideration in calculating the "means limit" and the rate of pension.

In deciding the amount of the "means limit," a basic figure is adopted of 40s. a week where there are two parents and 25s. where there is one parent. To _either of these are added

  1. (a) the amount of the deceased son's contribution to his parents' support before his war service, i.e., his full contribution, with a deduction of 10s. a week if board and lodging were provided by the parents. Where, prior to war service, the son was a student or apprentice or, by reason of youth, was earning low wages, or where he was not contributing either before or during service because the parents' circumstances did not then necessitate it, a contribution not exceeding 20S. a week is assumed, according to the circumstances of the individual case.
  2. (b) 5s. a week in respect of each brother or sister under 15 years of age maintained in the parents' household, 350 less any grant such as an orphan's allowance under the Contributory Pensions Acts.

In assessing the parents' income, the personal and not the household income is taken, and the following items are disregarded.

  1. (a) Public Assistance Out Relief.
  2. (b) Payments under the Scheme for the Prevention and Relief of Distress.
  3. (c) Unemployment Assistance, provided that there has been financial loss through the son's death.
  4. (d) The first £1 of personal disability pension.
  5. (e) The first 5s, a week of Friendly Society's sick pay.
  6. (f) The first 10s. 6d. of National Health Insurance benefit.
  7. (g) Half of any payment under the Workmen's Compensation Acts.
  8. (h) The first 10s. 6d. of superannuation.
  9. (i) The first 7s. 6d. of sickness payments under the Old Age and Widow's Pension Act, 1940.
  10. (j) The interest on £375 (£750 in the case of two parents) of War Savings as defined in the Determination of Needs Act, 1941.
  11. (k) The Prince of Wales Pension awarded by the British Legion.
  12. (l) A War Service Grant.
  13. (m) Financial assistance to the blind by local authorities.
  14. (n) Any rent allowance paid by the Ministry of Pensions to a mother who is in receipt of a war widow's pension.

Where there are lodgers or children living at home and paying for board and lodging, one half of any payment in excess of 18s, a week by each person is regarded as income to the parent. The extent of the need is the difference between the "means limit" and the personal income assessed as above. Where the deceased was an only child, the figure thus arrived at becomes the amount of the pension, provided it does not exceed either the amount which the son might reasonably have been expected to contribute had he survived or the maximum rate of pension.

Where there are unmarried surviving children over the age of 17 who are in a position to contribute, they are regarded as sharing responsibility for meeting the need with the State as representing the deceased son. Similar principles apply where the deceased child was a daughter. Where claims are rejected on the ground that need does not at present exist the parents are informed that they have the right to re-apply if their financial position worsens.

11. Sir Smedley Crooke

asked the Minister of Pensions whether the new Royal Warrant will provide increased rates of pension for dependants of deceased Service personnel, such as brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren?

Sir W. Womersley

Yes, Sir. As from 26th August, 1943, when there was a general increase in war pensions, the maximum weekly rates for juvenile brothers and sisters have been raised from 5s. each, with a maximum of 10s. a week for two or more, to 6s. each, with a maximum of 15s. a week for three or more. For adult "other dependants" the maximum rate has been increased from 10s. a week to 12s. a week.