Tribunal rules woman with disabled son should receive child care benefits

A woman who was told she could not receive child care benefit to
help care for her disabled son has won her discrimination claim,
writes Katie Leason.

The disabled person’s tax credit provides parents with up
to £94.50 per week towards child care costs for a single
child. However this is only available if carers are drawn from a
specific list of categories for care at home, generally registered

Marian Hill could not find a registered childminder to care for
her son Daniel after he suffered a brain haemorrhage three years
ago. She found a registered foster carer, but the benefits agency
refused to help pay for this care under the tax credit scheme.

Human rights organisation Liberty advised the case to be pursued
under articles 8 and 14 of the Human Rights Convention claiming
discrimination in relation to her, and her son’s private and
family life. The convention is enshrined in English law through he
Human Rights Act 1998.

A social security appeal tribunal in Liverpool concluded that
the regulation on this payment “can only be treated as compliant
with article 8 and article 14 of the Human Rights Convention if
payment of child care charges to a foster carer is deemed included
in the list of allowable child care charges…such a list
should not be deemed to be exclusive.”

Liberty’s counsel Shami Chakrabarti said that this shows
the power of the Human Rights Act to ensure justice can be done
where regulations are too narrowly drawn to promote their own real




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