Blind Persons

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1942.

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Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that many blind persons, anxious to participate in the war effort, are debarred from fitting themselves to do so as it would involve the loss of their disability pension when the present urgent need for their services is ended; and what steps it is proposed to take to enable the services of these blind persons to be utilised in the war effort?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

Sickness and disablement benefits under the National Health Insurance Acts are payable if and so long as the claimant satisfies his approved society that he is rendered incapable of work by some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement. It follows that the blind persons to whom my hon. and gallant Friend refers can only become entitled to these benefits after they cease to be employed if they can then satisfy their societies that they are incapable of work.

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

Will the Minister consider transferring these cases from the approved societies to the Post Office scheme, so that blind persons would be able to resume their disability pensions after concluding their war work?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

My right hon. Friend would not have any power to do that, and I think I have made it plain in the answer that if they are incapable of work they will then get a pension.