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Widows' Pensions

Volume 928: debated on Monday 14 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the results of his inquiry into the pension reduction effected for any widow who takes up a place on a Government training scheme.

The hon. Lady may have in mind an inquiry made at the "Fair Play for Widows" rally which she and I attended on 9th March. Any person who undergoes a course of training under a Government training scheme cannot receive one of the main national insurance benefits as well as a training allowance. This follows the long-established principle, which applies right through the social security schemes, that a person who happens to qualify for two or more maintenance benefits at the same time can receive only one of them. The detailed rules do, however, ensure that the highest benefit—or an amount equivalent to it—remains in payment. In addition, there is a special arrangement under which a widow with children can keep her widowed mother's allowance in full and receive an abated training allowance of £7.25 a week if this is more favourable to her. I am looking into the points raised at the rally and I will be writing to the Honorary General Secretary of the National Association of Widows.