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Pensions And Grants

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 1 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will issue an instruction that when an application for pension is lodged or an appeal is made against a pension award, the medical history of the case shall be taken into account only from the date of medical examination prior to the applicant joining the Forces and that the medical category on enlistment shall be the determining factor.

In determining whether war service played a part in the onset or development of a disability, full weight is given to a man's medical category on enlistment. Account must, however, also be taken, amongst other matters, of any relevant pre-service medical history in determining whether there is a casual connection between the disability and war service.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether any time limit is applied to making application for a pension on the ground of breakdown in health following discharge from the Forces; and whether he is satisfied that the interests of men who may suffer such a breakdown in middle life are adequately safeguarded.

Whilst under the Royal Warrant claims must be submitted within seven years of a member's discharge from the Forces, applications can be made to my Department where this period has elapsed. I am still receiving occasional new claims relating to the 1914–18 war.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will consider amending the pensions scheme so as to provide pensions for dependent parents and wives, equal to the allowance received before the death of their sons or husbands.

I am unable at the moment to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Lonsdale (Sir. I. Fraser) on 18th October.

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of Service men and women totally blinded during the war 1939–45 and in receipt of 100 per cent. disability.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will in future make the findings of his Ministry's medical boards available to appellants against the decisions of his Ministry.

Medical information disclosed by a Ministry medical board is not refused to a member of the medical profession if needed for treatment purposes. Where there is an appeal to the Pensions Appeal Tribunals, an appellant is supplied with a statement of the relevant facts of his case, including his medical history as known to my Department.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will consider introducing legislation to enable next-of-kin, other than wives of deceased Servicemen, to draw pensions on exactly the same terms as a wife.

No, Sir, for the reason that a man's responsibility for his wife is in a special category and differs materially from any responsibility he may have for any other relative.

asked the Minister of Pensions for what reason, in pensions, claims by T124X personnel, the burden of proof rests on the applicant, whereas in all other cases the burden of proof rests upon the Government to disprove attributability.

The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension. Article 2 (2) of the War Pensions (Naval Auxiliary Personnel) Scheme specifically provides that there shall not be an onus on any claimant to prove that disablement or death is directly attributable to a qualifying injury or to detention.