asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that notice is being sent out to dependants receiving pensions in respect of the death of a son or other relative that the War bonus hitherto paid to them is to cease on the 31st March, 1923; what is the reason for such decision; and, seeing that it is contravening the spirit, if not the letter, of the decision he has recently announced in the House, can this be reconsidered?
The 20 per cent, bonus which is payable on that class of pension to parents which is based on the amount of the support given by the deceased son to his parent before enlistment, will, in accordance with the statement already made by me in this House, not be reduced in April, 1923. In the case of pensions based on physical incapacity and need, no bonus is ordinarily payable, because the pension is based upon the circumstances of the parent at the present time.
Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the question as to whether the bonus should be stopped in these cases. This woman has a pension in respect of her son, and her only other income is 12s. a week unemployment benefit, and this will be discontinued in March next?
asked the Minister of Pensions whether any general instructions have been given to his Department to effect reductions in the email pensions granted to aged poor parents of deceased soldiers in cases of pecuniary need; whether he can state the number of these cases reduced during the six months ended 30th June, 1922; and, in view of the fact that the reductions in many cases are for sums less than 2s. a week, will he say what is the total saving to the State and the cost of inquiry officers and medical men and others employed to investigate these cases; and whether it is proposed to carry out this revision periodically?
No general instructions have been issued to the effect suggested. A new and improved scheme for the award and administration of this class of pension was introduced in the early part of this year. The effect of the scheme, which was generally agreed as equitable, was to increase substantially a number of the pensions while reducing some in which the circumstances did not justify the previous grant. I am not in a position to give the number of cases in which reduction or increase occurred as the direct result of this scheme. No additional staff was employed for the purpose. With regard to the last part of the question, I am glad to be able to say that one of the objects of the new scheme was to avoid the constant review of pensions which had been the previous practice. A pension is now awarded for a year at a time.