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Ex-servicemen: Pensions

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many veterans are not able to join either the AFPS75 or AFPS05 pension scheme; and how many veterans who left the armed forces before 1975 receive a preserved pension. (276522)

The number of veterans who are not able to join either the AFPS75 or AFPS05 pension scheme is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

As preserved pensions were introduced from 1975, no veterans who left prior to this would be in receipt of a preserved pension.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what minimum level of hearing loss from active service is necessary for a veteran to receive a disablement pension on the grounds of hearing loss. (276523)

No fault compensation for disorders caused by service before 6 April 2005 is provided by the War Pensions Scheme. Its legislation sets out the method of assessment and provides that disablement pensions are paid where disablement is assessed at 20 per cent. or more. For hearing loss this equates to 50dB loss in each ear averaged over 1, 2 and 3 kHz.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme applies to disorders caused on or after 6 April 2005. This scheme is tariff based with lump sum awards linked to specific descriptors. For more serious disorders there is an additional Guaranteed Income Payment payable for life. The lowest award for hearing loss alone is the descriptor ‘bilateral permanent hearing loss of 50-75dB averaged over 1, 2 and 3 kHz with mild or no tinnitus’. In addition a Guaranteed Income Payment becomes payable where hearing loss alone exceeds 75dB averaged over 1, 2 and 3 kHz in each ear.

The Ministry of Defence's approach to the assessment of service related sensorineural hearing loss for both the War Pensions Scheme and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is based on contemporary scientific evidence and understanding. This approach has been confirmed in recent years by several reviews carried out by independent audiological experts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next plans to review the eligibility criteria for entitlement (a) to a preserved pension and (b) to pensions for those who served in the armed forces prior to 1975; and if he will make a statement. (276524)

The Ministry of Defence currently has no plans to review the eligibility criteria for entitlement to a preserved pension and to pensions for those who served in the armed forces prior to 1975.