Father wins test case for child-care benefits

Campaigners Fathers Direct has welcomed a landmark case that saw
an unemployed father win his seven-year fight to become eligible
for child-care related benefits, writes Shirley

Judges at an Appeal Court in December ruled in favour of Eugen
Hockenjos who cared for his two daughters on an equal basis to his
ex-wife. The move is likely could trigger a major re-write of the
benefit rules.

Hockenjos of Islington, North London, can now claim thousands of
pounds in back-payments, after the government consistently refused
vital supplements to his Jobseeker’s Allowance worth about

Lord Justice Scott Baker said Hockenjos was clearly a
“substantial minority carer” for his children but the
benefits system by its use of Child Benefit as a
“passport” to other entitlements created an “all
or nothing” situation, where the reality of shared care
arrangements was not recognised.

Fathers Direct co-founder, Jack O’Sullivan welcomed the
decision. He said the ruling could open the door to hundreds of
other fathers “struggling financially to look after their
children when they come to stay”.

“The system simply treats the non-resident father as a
single person and it should recognise that when parents separate,
both become lone parents.”

The charity is holding a forum to discuss the benefit system at
the Working with Fathers Conference sponsored by Community Care to
be held on April 5 at the Institute of Education in London.

The government was refused permission to appeal further to the
House of Lords, but may still petition the Law Lords for an appeal

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.