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War Pensions

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many ex-service personnel are waiting for financial entitlements from the Veterans Agency; (131714)

(2) how many service personnel are awaiting (a) war disablement pension payments and (b) Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments from the Veterans Agency.

At the end of March 2007 there were 6,016 claims being processed for a war disablement pension or associated supplementary allowances under the War Pension Scheme.

Under the War Pension Scheme (WPS), only medical discharge cases involve serving personnel—all others will involve ex-service personnel. At the end of March 2007 there were 348 WPS medical discharge cases under consideration. Some of these individuals may have left the service.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme deals with claims from both serving and ex-service personnel. At the end of March 2007 there were 111 medical discharge cases and 400 injury/illness cases being processed under this scheme.

Of the 400 injury/illness claims being considered 156 cases were from ex-service personnel and 244 cases were from service personnel.

Clearance times under these schemes reflect the fact that many claims require extensive medical evidence to be gathered under various sources, and it is often necessary to seek further information in the light of the initial evidence received. Evidence then needs to be collated and assessed before a decision is taken.

Some 35,500 WPS claims and 4,800 AFCS claims were received in 2006-07, so it is inevitable that at any one time there will be several thousand being processed. This is normal work in progress, not a backlog.

The WPS key target for 2006-07, to reduce the average time it takes to issue decisions on claims to war pensions to no more than 53 working days, was exceeded with an achievement of 49 working days. The AFCS key target for 2006-07, to issue decisions on AFCS claims in an average of no more than 35 working days, was exceeded with an achievement of 34 working days.

Not all claims being processed will result in a payment.