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War Widows

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what practices have been in place in the last 10 years to inform war widows of their right to backdate their war widows pension. [116064]

A war widows pension may be awarded where death is due to service in the armed forces. There are no time limits for claiming a pension but as a result the onus is normally on the war widow to claim. The commencement date of any resulting award depends on the individual circumstances of the claim. There is no right for a war widows pension to be backdated, for instance, where she has failed to claim from an earlier date.The normal rules provide that where death is in service or a claim is made within three months of death a war widows pension may be paid from the day after death; otherwise, a pension will be paid from the date of the claim or application for review as the case may be. Similar provision applies to the restoration of a war widows pension on the death of a second or subsequent husband.In certain specified circumstances a pension may be paid from a date earlier than that provided for by the normal rules where, for instance, a widow has been prevented from claiming a pension because of ill health.