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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72



This little country, with a population not much over two million, presents to our attention some interesting facts in connection with the subject of insurance.

The Danish law compels every Government Official to insure hit life for the benefit of his widow. This rule goes so far back as 1740.

page 19
An Act came into force in Denmark on July 1, 1891, which introduced pensions for old age wholly out of taxation and without any contribution from the workman. The experiment initiated in Denmark cannot fail to be both interesting and instructive. The money is to be provided, one-half by the State and one-half by the local Poor Law authority. The amount provided by the State is £55,550 up to 1895, and after that date £111,100 a year. The principle of the Act is an attempt to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving aged poor. The funds are administered by the Communal Councils through the ordinary machinery of the Poor Law. A vital feature of the scheme is that those persons who receive relief under its provisions are not subject to the electoral disabilities which in Denmark are attached to ordinary poor relief. It is thus intended to withdraw from the old-age pensions the stigma of pauperism. These pensions are given to those who have completed their sixtieth year and are without means of providing themselves or their dependents with the necessaries of life. The following persons are excluded from the old-age pensions:—
1.Persons who have been in receipt of relief from the Poor Law administration, or have been found guilty of vagrancy and begging during the ten years preceding the date of their application.
2.Those whose poverty has been caused by their own fault, as by a disorderly and extravagant mode of life, or by voluntarily divesting themselves of their property in favour of others.
3.Those who have undergone sentence for any transaction I generally accounted dishonourable, and in respect of which they have not received rehabilitation.
4.The pensions are confined to persons who have had a fixed residence in Denmark for ten years preceding the date of their application.

The magistrates in Copenhagen, and outside Copenhagen, the Communal Councils, decide as to the nature and amount of relief to be given. No sum is specified, but the relief must be sufficient for the support of the person relieved and of his family, and for their I treatment in case of sickness. Should the pensioner be guilty of any action which would exclude from admission to old-age relief, or should he squander what is given to him for his support, the relief ceases.