Getting your child's DLA payments reinstated in hospital

Our advice if your child has been in hospital for more than 84 days and has had their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) suspended. 

In the recent Mathieson case, the Supreme Court found that rules suspending payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) after 84 days in hospital breached the human rights of a severely disabled child. The Children's Trust (Which produced the Brain Injury Hub) and Contact a Family charities have offered this advice on how other families can use this judgment.

What the judgment means for other families

The Court didn't say that that the hospital rules would be unlawful in all cases. Instead this will depend on the individual circumstances. However, where a family continues to provide a high level of care to their child in hospital, they should be able to use the Mathieson judgement to get their DLA payments reinstated. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has not yet responded to the Mathieson judgement. It may decide to amend, or even scrap the rules, but currently its intentions are not known.

How to ask for your DLA to be re-instated

If you are affected by these rules you should contact the DLA Unit and ask them to review their decision to suspend your child's payments. You might find this [template review letter for parents] (16k)  helpful in writing to the benefits department in asking for a child's DLA payments to be re-instated. This [short guide to completing the review letter] (158k)  may also help. You can call Contact a Family's free helpline for further information and advice on 0808 808 3555.

What about children who first claimed DLA when they were in hospital?

The template letter is designed to be used where a child under 16 has had their DLA payments suspended after 84 days in hospital. Some families may be affected by a different rule, which says that where a child first claims DLA in hospital payments cannot start until they are discharged home. Our template letter does not cover families in this situation. However, you may still be able to use the Mathieson judgment to argue that your child's human rights have been breached. Call the helpline for further help on 0808 808 3555. What about children in hospital who are aged 16 or 17? Young people aged 16 and 17 are treated as adults under the DLA rules and have their DLA payments suspended after only 28 days in hospital. However, despite falling under the adult DLA rules, 16 and 17 year olds are still defined as children under national and international law. If a 16 or 17 year old continues to receive a high level of care from their family in hospital then they may still be able to use the Mathieson judgement to challenge the suspension of their DLA payments. 
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