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Thursday, 5 August 1926

Senator OGDEN (Tasmania) .- One point raised in the debate makes this subject intensely interesting' to me, as one who has had a good deal to do with pension claims, and that is whether a rejected claim made under similar conditions cannot be re-opened. The Minister has stated that a second application is treated as a fresh claim. I was under the impression, and I am still, that many claims rejected owing to the lack of sufficient evidence as to age arer afterwards reopened.

Senator Pearce - The practice of the department for 17 years has been to deal with those cases as fresh applications.

Senator OGDEN - I believe 1 have heard of cases where the claim for the pension, granted on a second application, has been paid as from the date of the first claim.

Senator Needham - Undoubtedly; so have I.

Senator OGDEN - The department is not acting fairly by this old lady. There is a difference between her case and that of other applicants who do not claim the pension until they are long past the statutory age. No honorable senator will contend that persons who fail to make application until they reach the age of 70 years should be paid the pension as from the date when they reached the statutory age. The two cases are not parallel.

We ought to have this point cleared up. We should know definitely whether a claim rejected on. account of insufficient evidence can be re-opened. I .always understood this was the practice. In many cases, it is almost impossible for old people to state their exact age. Therefore, if a claim is disallowed owing to mistakes of this nature, it should be possible to reopen it.

Senator Pearce - I am advised that sometimes applications are deferred for inquiry without any decision being given, but that, if a claim is rejected, a subsequent application must be treated as a new claim.

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