CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - NATIONAL SOLDIERS' DEPENDENTS.

To ask the Minister for Defence if he will state generally the dependents of National soldiers on account of whom allowances are payable, the conditions under which these are paid, the procedure to be adopted by those claiming allowances, and the amount of such allowances, according to the rank of the soldier on whose behalf they are paid.

The dependents of officers and soldiers on account of whom allowances are payable are wives and children up to 14 years of age in the cases of married officers and men; children up to 16 years of age in the cases of officers and men who are widowers, and in the cases of single officers and men such members of the family or household as were wholly or in part supported out of the earnings of the officer or soldier for a reasonable period before enlistment.

Allowances are issuable at the following rates:

Married Officers.

Wife

5/-

per day.

1st child

2/-

,,

2nd child

1/6

,,

3rd and each additional child

1/-

,,

Married N.C.O's and Men.

Wife

4/-

per day.

1st child

1/6

,,

2nd child

1/-

,,

3rd and each additional child

9d.

,,

Motherless Children of Officers.

Children under 14 years of age—14/- a week for each child living singly.

Two or more children living together— 14/- a week for the first child, and 10/6 a week for each additional child.

Children over 14 and under 16 years of age—6/6 a week for each child.

Motherless Children of N.C.O's and Men

Children under 14 years of age—10/6 a week for each child living singly.

Two or more children living together— 10/6 a week for the first child, and 7/6 a week for each additional child.

Children over 14 and under 16 years of age—5/- a week for each child.

In the case of persons partially depending on an officer or soldier allowances are payable commensurate with the financial loss sustained as a result of his enlistment, and on the assumption that he contributes approximately one-third of his total Army pay to their support. Such cases fall into classes represented by the rates of

7/-, 14/-, 21/- and 28/- per week in the cases of officers, and 7/-, 14/-, and 28/- in the cases of N.C.O's and men,

which will be the amounts actually issuable.

The procedure in connection with the claim of an officer or man who is married is that the Pay Officer who issues his Pay Book notifies the Assistant Chief Pay Officer, Portobello Barracks, that the officer or soldier appears to be entitled to Dependents' Allowance. The Assistant Chief Pay Officer issues a Declaration Form to the wife. On the return of that Form properly completed and certified correct by a responsible person, payment of the allowance commences. In the case of other claims, the procedure adopted is that the Assistant Chief Pay Officer awaits a request from the dependents for an allowance or the receipt of a statement of claim from the officer or soldier on a special Form, Q.P. 7. As in the case of married claims, the Assistant Chief Pay Officer then requests the dependents to complete the Declaration Form. When those Forms are returned, the validity of the claim is investigated and the amount payable is assessed. Pending investigation, where a prima facie case is established, conditional issues at the rate of £1 per fortnight for three fortnights are made.

I beg to give notice that I will raise the question of delay in the payment of dependents' allowances on the adjournment.