§ Mrs. Peacock
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to make regulations governing non-contributory invalidity pension for forces families overseas.
§ Mr. Newton
I am pleased to announce that the regulations governing awards of non-contributory invalidity pension are being amended in a way that will particularly benefit the wives and other dependants of servicemen stationed abroad.
My right hon. Friend intends to lay amending regulations before the House on 18 November which will provide that in the case of servicemen and their wives a spell of continuous incapacity while abroad can count towards satisfaction of the NCIP test.
Until now regulations have helped service men and their families to satisfy the basic residence conditions for NCIP but have not provided for the possibility that some of them may become ill or disabled while stationed overseas. Men and women in this situation have been treated in the same way as anyone else who has spent more than four weeks abroad. On returning to this country they have had to start from scratch in satisfying the rule that of the 196 days of continuous incapacity necessary to establish entitlement to NCIP at least 168 days must have been spent in Great Britain.
The amending regulations which will come into force on 9 December will enable some men and women to qualify for NCIP as soon as they return to Britain while for others the usual waiting period will be considerably shortened.
We are similarly replacing the rules for civilian seamen and aircrews and for people working on the continental shelf; but here the concession will apply only to the personnel concerned and not to their families. People whose claims for NCIP have been disallowed under the old rules since January 1979 should get in touch with their social security office.