A very happy new year for Sussex Grandparent carer
An 83 year old Grandmother from St Leonard’s on Sea, is celebrating winning a lengthy battle with East Sussex County Council. Pat Knight has been caring for her 14 year old grandson since 2002. When his parents could no longer care for him, he came to live with Mrs Knight. Hastings Social Services visited the home, satisfied themselves that he was receiving good care and then left Mrs Knight to it.
Mrs Knight was 74 at the time. She and her husband were living on pension credit. Mr Knight also has had heart problems and Mrs Knight has been looking after him.
As Reece grew older, the expenses increased and Mrs Knight found herself falling into debt. She raised money on the house simply to enable her to care for her husband and Reece.
Mrs Knight obtained a Residence Order for Reece in 2004. She was never informed by the Local Authority that she may be entitled to a residence allowance.
In April 2010, she instructed Ridley & Hall, Solicitors, who specialise in working with Grandparent carers to write to East Sussex.
Having written to East Sussex County Council, Mrs Knight was told that they had no requirement to assess or provide a residence allowance but offered to carry out an assessment.
Mrs Knight’s lawyer Susan Cawtherley from Ridley & Hall said “Mrs Knight’s circumstances were increasingly desperate. East Sussex were told that if they did not consider paying a residence allowance, they would be subject to a challenge in the High Court by Judicial Review.
I am delighted that, as a result of the pressure from us, the story has a very happy ending. East Sussex has now agreed to pay Mrs Knight a residence allowance. They have also recognised that she should receive a back-payment”.
Mrs Knight commented “This is a fantastic outcome. It was the best Christmas present I could have received and it means that I am going to have a very happy New Year. My situation was so desperate that even at my age, I was doing other people’s ironing just to get a little bit of extra money in. Teenagers cost a lot of money as any carer knows. Pension credit was never intended to cover the costs of having a 14-year old boy in the house.
I am really looking forward to 2012. It is going to be a very happy New Year for me. Now that I don’t have to do ironing, I have signed up for an art course. This is something I always wanted to do and now I have the time to go. I won’t miss the ironing!
I would never have received the allowance without the support of Grandparents Plus and Ridley & Hall. It saddens me that I had to get legal advice to resolve this issue”.
Nigel Priestley, Senior Partner with Ridley & Hall , Solicitors in Huddersfield, a firm that specialises in supporting family and friends carers said:-
“This case has more than one good outcome. After Mrs Knight’s story was told on BBC South East, Hastings Cycles have offered to provide a bike for Reece. This very generous gift means that Christmas and New Year 2011 have been an extra special time for the Knight family”.
Ridley & Hall LLP are one of the UK’s leading firms representing Grandparents and Family and Friends Carers. The firm has Franchises in Community Care, Welfare Benefits and Debt Advice. They have commenced a number of Judicial Reviews involving local Councils across the country and are at the forefront of the battle to ensure that friend and relatives are paid the sums that are due to them.
Contact Nigel Priestley, Senior Partner at Ridley & Hall LLP, Solicitors, Queen’s House, 35 Market Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2HL.
Tel: 01484 538421 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org