Skip to main content

Tuberculosis Patients (Allowances)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1949

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

13 and 14.

asked the Minister of Pensions (1) how many ex-Service men and women disabled by tuberculosis were receiving pensions on 31st December, 1948; how many so disabled were drawing constant attendance allowance; and whether, in practice, such cases are excluded from constant attendance allowance unless they are regarded as incurable;

(2) how many ex-Service men and women receiving pensions in respect of disablement by tuberculosis were, on 31st December, 1948, also receiving unemployability allowance; and whether, in practice, such cases are excluded from unemployability allowance unless they are regarded as incurable.

The estimated number of ex-Service men and women pensioned for tuberculosis is 53,000 but not all are totally disabled. Eligibility for the grant of constant attendance allowance or the unemployability supplement does not depend upon the disease being incurable. The constant attendance allowance is given when personal help at home is necessary, and the unemployability supplement is granted when the pensioner is not likely to be able to resume work within a reasonable period. The numbers of constant attendance allowances and unemployability supplements in payment to pensioners suffering from tuberculosis are approximately 800 and 3,500 respectively. In many of these cases happily the prognosis is favourable.

Can the Minister state whether he has any cases where constant attendance allowance has been refused and where it has been applied for again, and whether there are cases of hardship which are not being sympathetically considered?

Constant attendance allowance is only payable when personal attendance in the home is necessary for the pensioner. These cases are all dealt with on a very sympathetic basis and where a claim is proved to he necessary, a grant is made. It would be unfortunate to give the impression that this grant implied that the disease is incurable, because that is not so. Many of the people who are getting the constant attendance allowance and the unemployability supplement are curable.

Can the Minister say whether any statistics are preserved of the numbers of those who have applied for a pension on this ground but have failed to establish attributability?

The number of ex-Service pensions for tuberculosis in the 1914–18 war is 18,000, and for the 1939–45 war, the number is 35,000.

Is it not a fact that quite recently the Government have widened the application of the pensions to people who were previously turned down?

The number of people receiving 100 per cent. pension for tuberculosis from the 1914–18 war is 4,000 and for the 1939–45 war 19,000.