§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what he has done to ensure that arrears are paid to those people affected by the commissioner's decision which held that an increase of social security benefit can be paid in respect of a non-working dependant with an occupational pension.
§ Mr. Scott
We have carefully considered the implications of the commissioner's decision which brought to light inconsistencies in the provisions in the Social Security Act 1975 governing dependency increases paid with social security benefits and subject to an earnings rule. We propose to remove these inconsistencies by clause 9 in the Social Security Bill now before the House. Where records of previous claims can be readily identified and show that a dependency increase was wrongly disallowed the appropriate arrears will be paid. We estimate however that we shall be unable to trace about 1,000 wrongly decided claims. The Department will be writing in the next few days to those who represent the interests of occupational pensioners with a request that those affected are alerted to their possible entitlement to a payment of arrears.