21 Jul 2016

Mother wins years-long court battle for carer's compensation

11:50 am on 21 July 2016

A woman who battled for years to be paid for looking after her adult son who has Down syndrome has been awarded $207,000 in compensation.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

The High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

The latest High Court decision gives Margaret Spencer back-pay and interest from the end of 2005 to September 2013.

The government finally agreed in 2013 to a law change to enable family members caring for adult children with disabilities to be paid for their work.

Before the law change, Mrs Spencer had claimed the Ministry of Health's policy of not funding family carers was discriminatory.

The High Court has now assessed the compensation she is due.

It has also directed the ministry to educate its staff about the rights of people with disabilities.

Margaret Spencer's laywer, Jim Farmer, expects more people will come forward seeking compensation following the decision.

He said a 2013 law change, which enabled family members caring for adult children to be paid, tried to prevent them from claiming back pay but that has now been clarified by the court.

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