A Wigan woman claims her disability benefits have been stopped just days before Christmas.
Irene Chegwin, 59, said she has been claiming disability living allowance (DLA) for 20 years because she has severe agoraphobia that means she can’t go outside alone along with other health issues.
But following an interview with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Irene, of Broom Avenue, Leigh, to see if she qualifies for personal independence payments (PIP) which have replaced DLA, her benefits have been stopped.
Not only were her benefits cut off on December 20, she has been told her husband Steven, who looks after her, will also have his carer’s allowance blocked.
She said: “I have been on DLA for 20 odd years but they are changing over to PIP.
“I know people have been taken off them but I shouldn’t have been.
“I have been agoraphobic since I was 15 and I can’t go out on my own.
“My husband is my carer because I also have type 2 diabetes and kidney damage.
“I can’t go out to look for work. They made me go to Bolton for the interview which was really stressful because I can’t really travel and then about four or five weeks later they told me they were stopping my payments and my husband’s who received them for being my carer.
“I don’t know what we are going to do or whether we will get any money. We are in the process of appealing but the timing is awful.
“We’ve got an electric and a gas metre and rent to pay.
“It is stressing me out and making me more ill.
“My husband isn’t very well either and I regularly get infections because of the damage to my kidneys.
“Neither of us is in a fit state to work.”
Irene is appealing the decision but has been left with nothing in the meantime although the DWP said if her appeal was successful, payments can be backdated.
A spokesperson for the DWP said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist, and anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.
“We introduced PIP to replace the outdated DLA system.
“PIP is a better benefit which takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis and is tailored to suit each individual’s needs.”