Disabled child refugees should be entitled to access Disability Living Allowance, a court has ruled.
The court made the ruling in a case brought by the Child Poverty Action Group on behalf of Refugee Council and Red Cross clients.
While refugees are fully entitled to claim mainstream support, they are required to prove they have lived in the UK for two years in order to be eligible to receive Disability Living Allowance.
Refugee Council said that normally refugees and their family members are exempt from any residency requirements in relation to welfare benefits but due to a peculiar anomaly this exemption didn’t apply to Disability Living Allowance; leaving many disabled refugees struggling to make ends meet.
The court has now ruled that these restrictions are ‘discriminatory’ and said that refugees should be entitled to access the support they required.
Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “Refugees arriving in Britain have often escaped war zones and many have been brutally tortured which can leave them living with lifelong disabilities.
“Some refugees are even specifically brought to the UK because they are particularly vulnerable and need to be resettled because they have severe medical needs.
“It thus seems counterintuitive that the British Government then denies these refugees access to vital support; leaving them without enough money to meet their needs and preventing them from living in dignity.”
Refugee Council urged the UK Government to “urgently ensure that its policies are joined up in order to ensure that refugees offered safe haven here actually have access to the means necessary to begin rebuilding their lives.”