Benefits challenge for disabled children in hospital heard by Supreme Court

26 Mar 2015 | by Caroline Sweeney

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal today (Thursday 26 March 2015) on the question of whether the rule which suspends payability of Disability Living Allowance for disabled children in hospital after 84 days is compatible with Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Ian Wise QC and Steve Broach act for the Appellant, instructed by Mitchell Woolf of Scott-Moncrieff and Associates.

The appeal concerns a child, Cameron Mathieson, with complex disabilities who sadly died during the proceedings. Cameron’s needs meant that he required hospital care regularly throughout his life. For one period of hospitalisation the benefit withdrawn under the rule challenged in the appeal amounted to around £7,000. The loss of the benefit had significant consequences for Cameron and his family. His father Craig Mathieson is therefore pursuing the appeal both for the family and the roughly 500 families a year with severely disabled children in a similar situation.

The appeal is supported by two national charities, Contact a Family and The Children’s Trust. These charities have been campaigning against the rule under the banner ‘Stop the DLA Takeaway’. The charities have produced evidence to show a large majority of families provide the same or greater levels of care to their children when they are in hospital and experience substantial additional costs during these times. Information on the campaign and the charities’ response to the appeal was available from the Contact a Family website.