A husband overcame two failed appeals to get his disabled wife's benefits reinstated.

Leslie Kirkland, who looks after wife Sonya, took the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to court and won.

Leslie provides 24-hour care for Sonya who has severe mental health issues and regular seizures.

It means she is unable to cook and wash for herself or drive.

The couple were stunned in January 2018 when the DWP told them 51-year-old Sonya's Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was being stopped.

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, reports Stoke-on-Trent Live .

Sonya was first awarded PIP in August 2014 and was called in for an assessment in January 2018.

Leslie, from Oakamoor, Staffordshire, 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 DWP could not comment on Sonya’s case.

But a spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring people get the right decision on their PIP claim and will continue to look at how we can improve the process.

“Since PIP was introduced there have been 3.7 million decisions made and of these only five per cent have been overturned at appeal.

"In most successful appeals, decisions are overturned because people have submitted more evidence.”

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