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Armed Forces: War Pensions

Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 6 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 12 December 2007 (WA 54–5) about the cut from 100 per cent to 40 per cent in Gulf War veteran Mr T E Walker's war pension shortly before his death, what steps have been taken to prevent such incorrect cuts happening again; who was ultimately responsible for the incorrect decision to reduce Mr Walker's war pension; and whether at any stage the Prime Minister was informed of the handling of this case. [HL1466]

The War Pensions Scheme provides no-fault compensation for ex-service personnel disabled as a result of service before 6 April 2005. Awards are based on the percentage degree of disablement due to service, which is assessed by comparing the condition of the claimant with a normal healthy person of the same age and sex. In cases where the evidence shows that an individual's degree of disablement due to service has changed since the last assessment was made, the assessment may be revised on review and the pension rate changed as appropriate.

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (formed 1 April 2007), which is responsible for making this decision, strives to ensure that all decisions made are in accordance with the rules of the scheme and in accordance with the evidence. It is with regret that not all the correct procedures were followed in this case. In light of that error, any case where a reduction in war pension assessment is proposed is now subject to a further check to confirm that the new decision is appropriately supported by the rules and in line with the evidence before the reduction is implemented.