asked the Minister of Health the approximate average age on 1358W retirement of persons in receipt of pensions for old age, blindness, and widowhood or old age, and the average duration of such pensions?
§ Mr. McNEILL
No information is available as to the average age on retirement of persons in receipt of pensions for old age and blindness. The statutory age for eligibility for the old age pension is 70, and 50 in the case of blind persons. No official information is available as to the average duration of such pensions, but, as regards old age pensioners, who constitute over 60 per cent. of the septuagenarian population, the average duration of their pensions should approximate to the expectation of life at 70. As regards widowhood, the question is presumed to refer to pensions under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act. The average duration of future pensions of this class will vary widely with the age at widowhood and the consequent probabilities as to death and re-marriage. A general average figure would, therefore, be a somewhat abstract quantity. In the case, on the other hand, of widows who were granted pensions at the commencement of the Act, the duration is dependent chiefly upon the age of the youngest child, and pensions of this class could not be averaged with those granted on a contributory basis. It is evident in these circumstances that the calculation of an average duration of pension could not produce a result of commensurate value with the labour involved in obtaining it.