Deaf woman wins fight for help with social life

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Rebecca Halliday, 20, who has been profoundly deaf since birth, won a landmark victory in the Court of Appeal yesterday with a judgement which extends the scope of the disability living allowance to include help in leading a normal social life - such as meeting friends and going to the cinema.

Last October, after a six-year battle through the benefits system, a social security commissioner held she had a "reasonable requirement" for a sign language interpreter to allow her to carry out a reasonable level of social activity.

The Department of Social Security appealed arguing that social activities were simply "desirable" rather than being "reasonably required" essentials - the basic statutory requirement.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Glidewell said there was nothing in the 1992 Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act to suggest that a disabled person was only entitled to an allowance to cover the maintenance of life itself.

The department is to seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords.