The long-standing battle by eight families for financial help to look after their severely disabled adult children will continue with a Crown appeal.

Solicitor General David Collins, QC, has said the Crown will appeal the landmark Human Rights Review Tribunal decision, delivered earlier this month, that found in favour of the families after the Ministry of Health said they were not eligible for caregivers' payments.

Mr Collins said the decision to appeal was "in the public interest" because of the potential fiscal impact of the finding and its flow-on effect to other policy.

The tribunal said the parents were discriminated against by the ministry because "they are not allowed to be paid for the services they provide to their child (or children) while anyone else providing the very same care to their child (or children) is able to be paid."

The tribunal rejected the ministry's claim that support given by family members to heavily dependent persons - particularly when they reach adolescence and adulthood - can be considered as " natural" support. Nor did it accept that the financial impact of paying family members currently excluded would be unsustainable.

"Our own intuitive view is that the impact is not likely to be great within the disability sector."

Shortly after the decision was released, Health Minister Tony Ryall said it had serious implications that go way beyond the disability sector and that it would almost certainly be appealed.

The decision could open the floodgates to potentially thousands of claims for ACC short-term injuries where people leave hospital but still need care and a family member is willing to provide that for a payment.