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Landmark ruling over girl's care

PUBLISHED: 00:05 07 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:54 02 March 2010

SOCIAL SERVICES staff in Suffolk have made history by winning the right for a child with ADHD to receive disability benefits.

In a landmark case, members of Suffolk County Council's welfare rights department fought to get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) given to a 14-year-old girl with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in foster care.

SOCIAL SERVICES staff in Suffolk have made history by winning the right for a child with ADHD to receive disability benefits.

In a landmark case, members of Suffolk County Council's welfare rights department fought to get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) given to a 14-year-old girl with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in foster care.

Her condition means she needs costly extra care and supervision but the Department of Work and Pensions ruled that she was not eligible for the allowance because ADHD is not classed as a medical disability.

The county council appealed the decision and took their fight to a tribunal of commissioners - an independent body who review decisions on benefit cases.

They decided that the effect of ADHD on the girl's life was sufficient for her to receive the allowance, and that it did not necessarily have to be recognised as a disability in order for this to happen.

Jo Cowley, head of financial inclusion and advice at the county council, said: "It means it should be much easier for parents and carers of children with disabilities to get DLA.

"What the department will now be looking at is the effect that someone's condition has on their life rather than what it's diagnosed as.

"If you have a child with learning difficulties, or something that can still be a bit contentious, this should make it much easier for them to get DLA."

The council worked alongside the Child Poverty Action Group in preparing the case.

The tribunal also made the decision not to call the child to appear at the hearing.

Usually children would be asked to attend a tribunal of this kind in order for their needs to be assessed but the carers and professionals advised that the child might suffer if they had to attend.

Both decisions are significant breakthroughs for vulnerable children and their carers.

n Could this decision affect you and your family? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.


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