HC Deb 16 June 1978 vol 951 c692W
Mr. Churchill

asked the Minister for the Civil Service on what basis certain officers are denied the right to commute part of their pensions in favour of a lump sum payment, while others are allowed to do so; and if he will confirm that the health of the applicant is not taken into account in deciding these matters.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

Under the Pensions Commutation Act 1871, retired officers of the Armed Services may apply to commute up to half of their pensions for life. The Civil Service Department, advised by the Pensions Commutation Board, may commute the pension by the payment of a lump sum under Section 4 of the 1871 Act, which saysit shall be lawful for the Treasury"— now the CSD— on the application of any person to whom this Act applies, to commute his pension by the payment of a capital sum of money, calculated according to the estimated duration of the life of the pension-holder".

The precise sum is derived from tables produced by the Government Actuary.

The Pensions Commutation Board is a statutory board established under the 1871 Act. The Board is not required to take into account the purpose for which the commuted lump sum is required, or the past service or personal circumstances of the applicant. It must, however, have regard to the applicant's state of health in considering the estimated duration of his life as required by the Act. The Board is advised on this by its own independent medical advisers.

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