‘A devoted husband took the DWP to court and won after the government department took away his disabled wife’s monthly benefits.
Carer Leslie Kirkland overcame two failed appeals to get his wife Sonya’s £581-a-month benefits reinstated after the DWP stopped her Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
The pensioner provides round-the-clock care for Sonya whose severe mental health issues and regular seizures have left her unable to cook and wash for herself or drive.
But the couple were left shocked in January, 2018 when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told them 51-year-old Sonya’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was being stopped, reports Stoke-on-Trent Live.
‘The report was all wrong’
But Leslie was determined to get justice and after two failed appeals managed to get his wife’s PIP reinstated following a hearing at North Staffordshire Justice Centre.
Sonya was first awarded PIP in August, 2014 and was called in for an assessment in January, 2018.
Leslie, from Oakamoor, Staffs, said: “I told them I have to do everything for her – I do the cooking and help her wash. She can’t do paperwork or drive – she is totally dependent on me.
“Then we got a letter saying she wouldn’t get PIP anymore because she didn’t have any problems and that she could drive. The report was all wrong.
“I twice appealed against the decision and they still wouldn’t let her have it. You can then appeal to the court but that can take up to 15 months and we wouldn’t have survived that long.
“I wrote to our MP Karen Bradley for help to bring the appeal forward. I asked for all my wife’s data from the DWP and went through it with a fine tooth comb.”
PIP is aimed at helping claimants meet costs incurred as a result of their disabilities. There is a mobility component, which relates to travel and transport, and a separate daily living component.
Following the court case, a judge ruled Sonya should receive the mobility and daily living component of PIP until January, 2023.
She is now paid £581-a-month and also receives Employment and Support Allowance.
The tribunal ruled Sonya had ‘severely limited ability to carry out activities of daily living and mobility activities’ and found she required help with food preparation; managing medication; budgeting; engaging with others; washing and bathing; and journeys.
Leslie added: “I found a letter in all her data that showed she has always had epilepsy and seizures which I showed to the court. I would advise anyone in the same position to get all their data so they have evidence – the DWP seems to miss things.
“While this was going on we were really struggling. We have no family around to help us. I felt terrible taking benefits but I have worked all my life and now I have just got my pension.
“We feel safe at the moment but we don’t know what the DWP is going to do next. She is never going to get better and all this has made her mental health problems worse. It’s a never-ending battle.”’
^ The above is from DerbyshireLive