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Disability Pensions

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Pensions whether it is his practice in claims for disability pensions for diabetes where it cannot be proved conclusively that war service did not cause or aggravate the complaint, to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt and to award a pension.

The Royal Warrant requires me to give a claimant the benefit of any reasonable doubt whether in regard to diabetes or any other disease, and this is invariably done.

In view of the conflict of medical opinion about the cause and development of diabetes, and in view of the fact that it is not always possible for a Service man to produce a correct day-to-day record of his active service, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he always gives Service men the benefit of the doubt?

Yes, Sir. This disease has been considered very carefully indeed by the tribunals and by the High Court; rules have been laid down and precedents established. We try our best to follow the rulings given by the courts and tribunals and if we fail the applicant always has the right of further appeal.