R (RD) v SSWP  EWHC 2635 (Admin)
Post-tariff lifers who have been transferred to hospital are not entitled to receive Income Support.
Under Social Security (Hospital In-Patients) Regulations 2005 prisoners who have been transferred under the Mental Health Act 1983 to hospital are not entitled to Income Support until the earliest date that they "could have been released" if they had stayed in prison. For determinate sentence prisoners this is a fixed date, but the position was uncertain for the claimants, who were post-tariff lifers.
The claimants argued that the earliest date was the date their tariff expired, because they could have been released then, but the court held that it was the date on which the offender became entitled to be released. Lifers are released under the Parole Board's discretion, and never became automatically entitled to release. Therefore, they could not be eligible to receive Income Support until their release.
The Hon Mr Justice Burnett
Paul Bowen (instructed by Bindmans LLP) for the Claimants
Martin Chamberlain (instructed by the Office of the Solicitor) for the Defendant
Hearing date: 17 September 2008