§ Mrs. Beckett
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of the judgment of the European Court in the Clarke case, he will now(a) invite claims to severe disablement allowance from married and cohabiting women who fulfilled the conditions for noncontributory invalidity pension in 1984, other than the household duties test, but were wrongly denied severe disablement allowance as from 22 December 1984 by the discriminatory provisions of the transitional regulations, (b) make extra-statutory payments to such women now making new claims to severe disablement allowance to compensate them for non-payment of that benefit from 22 December 1984, (c) exercise his discretion under regulation 9(6) of the Claims and Payments Regulations to treat all claims for non-contributory invalidity pension received from such women in 1984 and 1985 as claims for severe disablement allowance, and (d) exercise his discretion under regulation 9(1) of the same regulations to treat all claims for (i) unemployment benefit, (ii) sickness benefit, (iii) invalidity benefit and (iv) maternity allowance received from such women in 1984 and 1985 as claims for severe disablement allowance; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Scott
I refer the hon. Member to my reply to her on 5 November 1987 at column869. We intend to discharge our legal obligation to pay women whose entitlement to severe disablement allowance was established by the judgment of the European Court of Justice in the case of Mrs. J. B. Clarke. I am advised that this applies to married women who had a claim to SDA, founded on entitlement to non-contributory invalidity pension, between the earliest date for claiming SDA (10.9.84) and the latest date for claiming NCIP (29.11.85) and the claim failed because of the household duties test or has awaited decision pending the judgment. This would include claims to NCIP treated as claims to SDA under regulation 9(6) of the Claims and Payments Regulations 1979. Central records indicate that there were some 3,000 to 4,000 such women.
Claims to unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, invalidity benefit and maternity allowance which failed during this period would have been treated also as claims to SDA where appropriate in accordance with regulation 9(1) of the same regulations. If, because of the household duties test these SDA claims also failed, they will have been included within the 3,000 to 4,000.
Because the women who may benefit from the judgment are identifiable from central records, they are being contacted individually which obviates the need for a wider invitation to submit claims. Inquiries will then be 177W made to establish whether any payment is due, both currently and for any periods since 22 December 1984. Extra-statutory payments will be made where necessary.