DSS has no say in cash

Can I correct a point in Roger Pearson's article (28 November) on the Fairey case? CPAG acts for Rebecca Halliday.

The article says the ruling entitles Rebecca (who is profoundly deaf) to payment for an interpreter, including for social purposes. That is not accurate.

Disability living allowance (DLA) is paid to severely disabled people with care needs. The question the Court of Appeal had to decide was whether, in determining if a claimant suffers from the requisite disability level, one could take into account help s/he needs in all aspects of normal, everyday life – including a reasonable amount of social activities – or only help for what might be termed strictly medical purposes. The Court of Appeal adopted the broad approach.

If Rebecca eventually gets benefit – the case is going to the Lords – she will be paid at the flat rate of £31.20 per week. How she spends the money will be up to her.

We hope the Lords will support the Court of Appeal's enlightened approach. Government policy these days is to help disabled people live full lives in the community. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that its parsimonious approach makes it difficult for people such as Rebecca to do so.

David Thomas

Child Poverty Action Group

1-5 Bath Street

London EC1V 9PY.