Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £434,434 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha a Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1942, chun Pinsean Créachta agus Mí-ábaltachta, Pinsean Breise agus Pinsean Fear Pósta, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí (Uimh. 26 de 1923, Uimh. 12 de 1927, Uimh. 24 de 1932, Uimh. 15 de 1937 agus Uimh. 2 de 1941), Pinsean, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí Seirbhíse Mileata (Uimh. 48 de 1924, Uimh. 26 de 1932, Uimh. 43 de 1934, agus Uimh. 33 de 1938), Pinsean, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí (Uimh. 37 de 1936), agus chun síntiúisí agus costaisí iolardha ina dtaobh san, etc.
That a sum not exceeding £434,434 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1942, for Wound and Disability Pensions, Further Pensions and Married Pensions, Allowances and Gratuities (No. 26 of 1923. No. 12 of 1927, No. 24 of 1932, No. 15 of 1937 and No. 2 of 1941). Military Service Pensions, Allowances and Gratuities (No. 48 of 1924, No. 26 of 1932, No. 43 of 1934 and No. 33 of 1938), Pensions. Allowances and Gratuities (No. 37 of 1936), and for sundry Contributions and Expenses in respect thereof, etc.
The Estimate for the Army Pensions Vote for the financial year 1941/42 shows a net increase of £68,044, and the Estimate, as printed and circulated to the House, shows that the increase is mainly due to increasing liability under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1934, and under the Defence Forces Pensions Schemes, 1937 and 1940—an increase which is partly offset by diminishing liabilities under the Army Pensions Acts in respect of wound and disease pensions.
The reduction in the amount required under sub-head G for wound and disability pensions is mainly attributable to the fact that applications for pensions under the 1932 Act proper have been disposed of so that there now only remain applications under the Acts of 1937 and 1941.
The decrease in the amount asked for under sub-head H for dependents' allowances is principally due to the fact that applications for special dependents' allowances under Part VII of the 1937 Act proper have been dealt with, so that now we have only to deal with those under the Act of 1941.
The increase under sub-head K for military service pensions is entirely due to the increased number of applicants who have qualified and are likely to qualify for pensions under the Act of 1934. On March 31st, 1940, the number who had qualified was 7,346, but on March 31st, 1941, that number had increased to 7,905.
A somewhat similar position exists regarding pensions payable under the Defence Forces Pensions Schemes, 1937 and 1941. During the year there has been an increase of 17 pensions, and during the coming year provision has been made for a further increase of about 16 pensions.
Last year Deputies inquired regarding the work done by the three statutory boards which have been set up to administer the Military Service and Army Pensions Acts. Here, briefly, is the position for the past financial year:—The Military Service Registration Board completed its work under the 1932 and 1937 Acts about the end of December, 1940, and thereafter was placed on a part-time basis to deal with appeals. It will now have to deal with applicants under the 1941 Act.
The Army Pensions Board during the year completed its work under the 1932 Act proper, and boarded practically all claims under the 1932 Act, as amended by the 1937 Act. It also concluded its investigations into applications for special dependents' allowances under Part VII of the 1937 Act. It dealt with all applications under Section 26 of the 1937 Act which prima facie appeared likely to succeed, and for some time past it has concentrated attention on claims for aggravation under Sections 28 and 29 of the 1937 Act. Claims under Section 41 of the same Act for special gratuities have also been finished. The position indeed of the board's work may be said broadly to be that they are dealing with claims in respect of aggravation and are completing their examinations and findings under the different sections and different forms of claims under the 1937 Act. They should, therefore, be in a position within a reasonable period to deal with applications under the new Army Pensions Act, 1941.
The work done by the Referee with the Advisory Committee and interviewing officers throughout the year may be best gauged by comparing statistically under a few headings the work covered during the past financial year. The number of applications received under the Act by the Referee on April 1st, 1941, was 59,594. On April 1st, 1940, 19,534 applicants had been interviewed, but 12 months later the figure was 27,160, an increase over the period of 7,626. At the beginning of the period, the Referee had made 7,346 favourable reports, and at the end 7,905, an increase of 559. During the same period the number of unfavourable reports made was 28,639 and 43,015 respectively, an increase of 14,376 over the period. From these figures it will be seen that substantial progress has been made during the year, and that there are now only 8,674 in which reports remain to be made. If the same rate of progress can be maintained we should be able to record next year that reports have been made covering all applications under the Act.