§ Mr. TASKER
asked the Minister of Health whether claims for widows', orphans', old age, and blind pensions which are incomplete by reason of the claimant or of any other person required in the capacity of witness or otherwise having omitted to sign or mark the claim, are treated as invalid; whether any such pensions have been forfeited permanently, or in respect of considerable periods, owing to such omission; and, if so, whether he will furnish a statement describing in detail the action, if any, at present taken in the Ministry towards obtaining the necessary signatures or marks in such cases, and state the number of old age and blind pension claim forms originally received during November, 1926, at the Insurance Department of the Ministry of Health at Bromyard Avenue, stating how many were signed and not signed, respectively, and the intervals that elapsed between the receipt of the respective unsigned claim forms and their return for signature?
§ Mr. N. CHAMBERLAIN
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative; as regards the second and third parts, in all cases arising under or by virtue of the Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, the claim is treated as having been made on the date on which it is first received in the Department. I am advised that unsigned claims for a pension under the Old Age Pension Acts, 1908 to 1924, are invalid, and that a pension cannot be awarded in respect of any period before their completion. There have been no cases in which the delay in the completion of a claim has involved the permanent forfeiture of such a pension and very few in which more than a few days loss of pension has been involved. Arrangements have now been made under which any person submitting an incomplete claim will have an immediate opportunity of completing it and so avoiding any loss of pension. I regret that the information sought in the last part of the question is not available.