Derby City Council Pay Struggling Grandfather £16,500 in Back Dated Payments
A grandfather from Derby has won a substantial amount of back dated monies from his local council after caring for his grandchildren for 14 years.
Derby City Council placed four grandchildren in his care in 2000 due to concerns about the mother’s ability to care for them. The grandfather subsequently obtained a residence order for the children on the advice of the local authority. If the grandfather had not stepped in the children would have gone into care.
What Derby failed to do was to advise him that, subject to a means assessment, he may be entitled to an allowance for the children. It was only in 2013 that the client got in touch with Ridley & Hall after he had read about other grandparents in similar situations successfully obtaining allowances.
Helen Jarvis, trainee solicitor at Ridley & Hall Solicitors, commented, “We see this all the time; local authorities failing to disclose that a kinship carer may be entitled to financial support is not uncommon. Although the duty of a local authority to assess for an allowance is only discretionary, the carer needs to be aware that they may be entitled to support. My client was unaware for the best part of 13 years. He struggled to bring up 4 grandchildren, most recently, solely on his pension.”
An initial letter was sent to the council in October 2013 asking the local authority to carry out a financial assessment. It was not until around May 2014 that Derby agreed to assess the grandfather. The amount of payments were agreed in February 2015 and paid shortly afterwards.
Ms Jarvis further commented, “The local authority had not confirmed whether they had considered paying the client any back dated monies. In March 2015 I wrote asking them to reconsider their position. I received a letter in April 2015 offering to pay the client a back payment of around £16,500. It has been an uphill battle but one that has finally paid off for the client.”
The 65 year old from Alvaston said, “I know that some people will wonder why I wanted financial support. I was not planning to take on 4 children at my age when they came to me. My life has been turned upside down. I have saved the council a fortune. If I had not stepped up to the plate, it is very unlikely that the children could have stayed together. I’m told it’s unusual for a fostering family to be found who could take four children.”
The grandfather added, “I am disgusted that I was left to struggle for all those years. Social services dropped the children at my house in only the clothes they stood up in. My savings depleted quickly in order to provide them with what they needed. I should have been informed about financial support but I mistakenly thought that, as I was their grandfather, I would not be entitled to any extra help. I am delighted that Derby ultimately agreed the weekly payments and that my solicitor fought to secure me the back dated monies. I cannot thank Ms Jarvis and Ridley & Hall enough.”