A postal worker from Bradford has won an 11-year battle for justice for his disabled brother and reimbursement of more than £100,000 in support payments he had been wrongly denied. The local government ombudsman on Monday praised the “extraordinary lengths” to which David Hyde went to prove Bradford council was at fault for the error that severely constrained the lifestyle of his brother, Antony.
The case casts doubt on the government’s plan to give councils full responsibility for administering the payments, which are currently made by the independent living fund (IFL).
Antony Hyde, who is 42 and has severe learning disabilities, received £180 a week from the fund when he lived with his parents. In 2001 he moved into supported living accommodation provided by Bradford council and the funding stopped. His brother discovered that the ILF believed Antony had gone into residential care, which would have made him ineligible for funding, when in fact he was a tenant and the council was claiming housing benefit on his behalf. The council did not admit any error until 2008, after David Hyde had exhausted the complaints procedure and taken the case to the government’s care watchdog. Even then the council failed to offer any recompense.
The ombudsman, Anne Seex, has now ruled that the council provided erroneous information to the ILF and should itself pay Antony Hyde just over £100,000 and his brother £5,000. David Hyde, 44, said the loss of funding had dramatically affected his brother’s lifestyle, as it had previously paid for activities such as swimming, a weekly disco outing and trips to the seaside.
Pursuing the case had at times involved daily correspondence and phone calls and had put a huge strain on his family life, he said. “From day one the council were breaking the law, full stop. They did absolutely nothing and treated my brother and my family in a disgraceful way.”
6th August 2012