Oral Answers to Questions — Old Age Pensions.

– in the House of Commons on 25th June 1942.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Minister of Health, how many times in the past 12 months old age pensioners in the Cheltenham area in receipt of supplementary pensions have been interviewed by officials of the Assistance Board with a view to the amounts of their supplementary pensions being reviewed?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The Assistance Board inform me that, until January of this year the normal practice was for their officers to visit each pensioner who is in receipt of a supplementary pension once a quarter, and that since January the practice has been to visit once in six months. More frequent visits are paid in cases where the circumstances of the pensioner require it or where the pensioner reports that some change in his circumstances has occurred which may affect the amount of his supplementary pension. Statistical records of the actual visits paid in any area are not maintained and could not be compiled without considerable expenditure of staff time; but the Board estimate that in 75 per cent. of the cases visits are now paid twice a year.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have a letter here from an old age pensioner whose circumstances have not varied and who says that she has been visited three times already this year? In view of that misuse of manpower, will he give consideration to the matter of restricting these visits to not more than once in 12 months?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I shall be very glad to see that letter. My hon. Friend will see from my Answer that it is the policy in at least 75 per cent. of the cases to visit only once in six months.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Will not my right hon. Friend consider whether once in 12 months is not adequate in present circumstances, as the money involved does not justify such a use of man-power?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I am not sure about that. I will look into the case to which my hon. Friend has referred.