photo credit: Scales of Justice via photopin (license)

Disabled refugees will now be able to claim disability benefits from the moment they’re given refugee status, after the UK Government decided not to appeal a Tribunal judgement, it has been reported.

The decision comes after the Upper Tribunal ruled that a residency test, barring disabled refugees from claiming disability benefits (Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments) unless they have lived in Britain for at least two out of the previous three years, unlawfully discriminated against disabled refugees and their families.

The Tribunal heard from refugees and their families, who were supported by the Refugee Council and the British Red Cross – represented by the Child Poverty Action Group.

Refugee Action, who “help refugees who’ve lost everything to live again”, say the Government’s decision not to appeal the ruling means disabled refugees and their families can begin to rebuild their lives – some of whom are torture victims or have war-inflicted injuries – through Government resettlement schemes.

Stephen Hale, chief executive of Refugee Action, said: “We’re pleased the Government has seen sense on this. At long last disabled refugees will be able to access disability benefits when they are granted sanctuary.

“For too long, disabled refugees, who in many cases have been prioritised for resettlement because of their disabilities, have been denied this crucial support.

“We’ve heard from torture survivors left unable to begin rebuilding their lives without these payments and families, who have fled unimaginable horrors, struggling alone to care for children with complex needs.

“It’s positive the Government has listened and that disabled refugees and their families will be able to receive this much-needed support.”