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National Insurance (Benefit Claims)

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 31 May 1949

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asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will advise local branches of his Department and appeal committees to treat sympathetically applications for benefit which might be disallowed owing to failure on the part of the applicants to comply with all the requirements because of ignorance, age or poor health.

If a claim is delayed beyond the prescribed limits it is open to the claimant to show that he had good cause for the delay. This question would be dealt with in the first instance by the appropriate statutory authority, the local insurance officer. There is provision for appeal from his decision to the local appeal tribunal, and from that tribunal to the Commissioner, who is the final authority. I have no doubt that in exercising their functions these authorities take full account of all the circumstances of each case, but I have no power to give instructions to them.