§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about the assistance and benefit available to widows.
§ Mr. Jack
Widow's payment, widowed mother's allowance and widow's pension are available, according to circumstances, to widows aged under 60 years of age whose late husbands had met the appropriate national insurance contributions conditions. Widows aged 60 or over are in most circumstances entitled to a contributory retirement pension based upon the late husband's national 659W insurance contribution record. Both widowed mother's allowance and basic retirement pension can attract a dependency increase for children.
My hon. Friend may like to know that the estimated expenditure on these benefits in 1991–92 is £983 million.
Under the war pensions scheme administered by the Department, war widows pensions are available, in the main, to widows of men whose deaths were due to or substantially hastened by service in the armed forces, whether in war or peacetime; additions are also payable for dependent children. These pensions are paid at preferential rates.
Further information can be found in DSS Leaflets NP45, MPL 152 and MPL 154; I will send copies to my hon. Friend.
In addition other social security benefits are available to widows who make a claim and satisfy the necessary conditions for the award of the benefit and these include child benefit and income-related benefits.