24 Oct 2013

Settlements paid to family carers

3:12 pm on 24 October 2013

Eight family caregivers at the centre of a long legal row with the Government have received confidential financial settlements.

A group known as the Atkinson plaintiffs took a lengthy legal action against the Ministry of Health over its former policy of refusing to pay family members caring for adult disabled children.

Their battle over more than a decade succeeded in winning the policy U-turn by the Government and led to a new law enabling family members caring for adult disabled children to be paid.

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings says the Crown has now settled individual claims for remedies for past discrimination over the pay issue.

The amounts and terms are confidential, but Radio New Zealand News understands they were for humiliating and pecuniary loss, and were paid this week.

Lawyer Jim Farmer, QC, says the settlement enables him to apply for compensation for his client Margaret Spencer, of Auckland, who has been caring for her adult disabled son.

Mr Farmer says that claim will be filed with the Human Rights Review Tribunal on Thursday.

"I think it's very encouraging that the ministry has settled with the Atkinson plaintiffs and accepted obviously that they had a valid claim," he says.