§ Mr. TOUCHE
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East, as representing the Insurance Commissioners, if he will take into consideration the circumstances relating to the case of the late Mr. A. G. Boyden, a State member of the Hearts of Oak Benefit Society, as typical of an apparent defect in the application of the National Insurance Act; is he aware that Mr. A. G. Boyden died in the Hampstead General Hospital on 3rd February last; that at the time of his death there was a balance of unexpended sickness benefit due to him; that his father, Mr. A. W. Boyden, of 139, Huddleston Road, London, N., as next-of-kin, who had been himself an ordinary member of the society for about twenty years, applied for payment of the benefit due, intending to hand it to the hospital; that he was thereupon asked irrelevant questions by the society as to his earnings and his son's contributions to the support of the home; that he was then told that the committee would consider his claim, and was subsequently informed that it had been dismissed as he was not dependent on his son for support; that thereupon he interviewed a member of the committee, who told him they sympathised with his claim, and that it had been referred to the Insurance Commissioners; that the Commissioners ruled that 1784W the right to any balance of benefit, although accruing to the member, was not payable to his legal representatives in the event of death, but remained in the hands of the society; will he say by what statutory or other authority funds belonging to a deceased person are withheld from his legal representatives; and, if the Insurance Commissioners have a discretion, will he advise them to alter the existing ruling, or, if they have no discretion, will he consider the desirability of introducing legislation to amend a provision which appears to many insured persons to be harsh and inequitable?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN
The ruling of the Commissioners referred to in the question represented what they were advised to be the legal effect of Section 12 of the Act of 1911, and Section 15 of the Act of 1913, which they have no power to alter. My right hon. Friend is not satisfied that an amendment of the law is desirable, but the point will be noted for careful consideration in the event of legislation being introduced.