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Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has given consideration to the request made in the resolution passed by the Staveley Urban District Council and forwarded to him by the hon. Member for North-East Derby; whether he will make known his observations on the subject matter contained in the correspondence that accompanied the resolution and state the policy of his Department on those cases that are compelled to obtain assistance from public authorities pending a settlement of their pension claims?

Members of the Forces are granted four weeks' furlough with full pay before they are discharged on grounds of medical unfitness. This arrangement embraces the cases of men discharged on account of wounds or injuries, which are the subject of the urban district council's resolution. This furlough period is to enable the member to settle down once again in civil life and the Ministry to deal with any pension claim. In the case of a Wound received in action practically every case is settled within the four weeks. The same applies to accident cases where the evidence is clear. Where, in these latter cases, the evidence is insufficient but points to a service cause of the disablement, a provisional grant is made. Where the evidence is prima facie against the claim, the case is kept open in the interests of the discharged member so long as there is a hope that evidence in favour of the claim can be obtained. As a consequence a decision may not be reached within the four wekes' period but no special allowances are or could reasonably be granted pending settlement of such claims. I am writing to the hon. Member giving him further particulars.