Human Rights Commission welcomes disability care review decision




The Human Rights Commission is welcoming a decision by the Court of Appeal to overturn a Ministry of Health ruling on disability care, saying the area needs an overhaul.

A blind man and woman walk together.

The court ruled on Wednesday that the ministry must revise its decision to only pay Diane Moody for 17 hours a week at minimum wage for the care of her 51-year-old severely disabled son Shane Chamberlain who required care 24/7.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero said the decision recognised the hardships families faced caring for disabled adult family members and it was an opportune time to review how Funded Family Care was implemented.

"Dedicated family members have had to go through protracted, complex and stressful court proceedings to access fair and equitable compensation for their work," says Ms Tesoriero.

"By recognising this, and encouraging these matters to be settled without litigation, the Court of Appeal has shown that there need to be changes to the current system to make it more accessible for the people it is set up to help."

The court also noted the complexity of the law on funding eligibility for disability support services, saying: "They verge on the impenetrable."

Ms Tesoriero is seeking talks with Health Minister David Clark about this issue.

Mrs Moody said the toileting of her son was timed during the assessment process for care.

A previous High Court ruling saw the Ministry of Health revise their decision to 17 hours a week at minimum wage, but Mrs Moody argued she was eligible for 40 hours a week.

The ministry then said in the Court of Appeal it could only provide funding for the hours Mrs Moody spent on Mr Chamberlain's personal care and household management.

The court ruled that "a formulaic approach to assessment is inconsistent with spirit and purpose of the policy" and redirected the Ministry of Health to reassess Mrs Moody's application for funding.

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