Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eleventh Report


Memorandum by the Department of Social Security


1. This Order further amends the Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order 1983 ("the principal Order") which makes provision for pensions and other awards in respect of disablement and death due to service in the naval, military and air forces.

2. Article 2 amends Article 18(2) of the principal Order which provides that a pensioner may be eligible for an unemployability allowance even though he is in receipt of earnings provided that those earnings are in the opinion of the Secretary of State unlikely to exceed a maximum figure. The present maximum amount of earnings of 2,496 a year is increased by this amendment Order to 3,016 a year, which is in line with the proposed increase from 48.00 to 58.00 a week of the "therapeutic earnings limit" for beneficiaries of Incapacity Benefit (the Social Security Benefits Uprating Regulations 1999).

3. Article 3 substitutes a new article 26 of the principal Order to clarify the application of the Secretary of State's discretion to defray expenses. The discretion applies to expenses of a member of the armed forces relating to medical, surgical or rehabilitative treatment, or adaptations or aids for disabled living which are not provided for under other UK legislation otherwise than on payment of a charge by that member and in so far as the expenses wholly or mainly arise as a result of a disablement due to service.

4. Article 4 amends Article 29(1A) of the principal Order which provides for the payment of a supplementary pension to a widow of a member of the Armed Forces where she is entitled to a pension under Article 29(1) of the principal Order and where her deceased husband's service terminated before 31st March 1973. The present rate of 54.70 per week is increased to 56.45 per week from 12th April 1999.

5. Article 5 and the Schedules vary from 12th April 1999 the rates of pensions and other awards payable under the principal Order by means of substituting new Tables for those presently contained in Schedules 1 and 2 to the principal Order.

6. This Order does not impose any costs on business.

7. A similar amending instrument was laid before Parliament last year: the Naval, Military and Air Forces Etc (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Amendment Order 1998 (SI 1998/262). In their letter of 4th March 1998 the Committee requested a Memorandum as to whether work on consolidation of the principal Order had begun and, if not, when the Department expected to commence this work. The Committee's request was prompted by the Department's Memorandum of 29th July 1996 on SI 1996/1638 which indicated that the Department would undertake a consolidation as soon as circumstances and resources permitted.

8. In its second Memorandum, of 30th March 1998, the Department informed the Committee about the joint review with the Ministry of Defence of compensation arrangements for service personnel whose death or injury is due to service. That review is continuing. In the meantime the Department has, as indicated in that Memorandum, commenced work on the consolidation. A complete first draft has been prepared and this is now under detailed consideration.

The Department regrets that the size and complexity of the exercise mean that it is not possible to give a definite indication of when the consolidation may be finalised and placed before the Privy Council.

22 February 1999

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