§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the age limit on women in receipt of retirement state pension and able to claim invalid care allowance was reduced to 60 years; for what reasons this change was made; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McCartney
From the introduction of Invalid Care Allowance in 1976 until 1994 the age limit for claiming the benefit was "pensionable age", which was 65 for men and 60 for women. On 28 October 1994 the maximum age at which Invalid Care Allowance could be claimed was changed from "pensionable age" to "age 65" in order to provide equality of treatment for both men and women. A woman can, therefore, claim Invalid Care Allowance between the ages of 60 and 65 while receiving State Retirement Pension.
Retirement Pension and Invalid Care Allowance are both intended to help maintain income to avoid duplicate provision; however, the payment of the pension may extinguish or reduce the payment of the Invalid Care Allowance. On 3 October 2000 we announced that carers aged 65 and over would also be allowed to claim Invalid Care Allowance and this will be introduced as soon as possible.