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Disabled Man Hopes To Challenge Benefit ‘Hospital Rule’

October 21, 2021

A disabled man who had his welfare benefits paused when he spent more than 28 days in hospital, is hoping to challenge the rule in court.

Cameron Mitchell, 20, from Carlisle, cannot walk or speak, and has seizures. He spent 128 days at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Current rules mean he lost his payments while still needing carers, and he has applied for a judicial review.

The Department for Work and Pensions has been contacted for a comment.

‘Needs don’t change’

Mr Mitchell receives Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and his mother and carer – Nicola Clulow – receives a Carer’s Allowance.

Under current regulations, known as the “hospitalisation rule”, a person’s entitlement to their benefits is suspended if they have received care in hospital for more than 28 days.

Legal firm, Leigh Day, has applied for a judicial review – where a judge considers the lawfulness of a decision or action by a public body – to challenge the current regulations.

Ms Clulow – who is communicating on her son’s behalf in this case – said the payments were stopped even though the hospital relied on her for her son’s care.

She said staff asked her to spot when Mr Mitchell was about to have a seizure, to interpret his pain and to be available at all hours to assist with his care when asked.

The family said they lost more than £5,000 in benefit payments while spending about £100 a week on food and transport.

Mr Mitchell argues the DWP’s failure to provide an exception to the rule for disabled people, whose needs do not change, discriminates against them and breaches their human rights.

Ms Clulow said: “Cameron requires the constant care and knowledge of his needs from a known carer whenever he is in hospital.

“This doesn’t change on day 29, but the financial means to enable us to provide this support does.”

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