§ Sir John Farr
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the fact that official notification about the abolition of the married women's half test pension was only promulgated from his Department on 18 October, to countries overseas such as Canada, where official information about the change was not available until 31 October, he will make arrangements for the backdating of claims without loss of pension for a period of 12 months from that date.
§ Mr. Newton
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie) on 4 December at columns276–77. As this makes clear, the great majority of those we estimate to be entitled to a pension following the abolition of the half test have been directly identified from the Department's records, contacted, and their pensions put into payment. This includes many of those living overseas.
The question of backdating any claims arising from the abolition of the married women's half test is a matter for the independent adjudicating authorities. The earliest date to which claims can be backdated is 22 December 1984, the date from which the test was abolished. There is a statutory limit of 12 months on the period for which a claim can be backdated.