Family’s joy at U-turn on mobility car

DELIGHT ... Amarni Gibson and her mum Gillian, pleased that they are going to keep a mobility car. Left, Gillian's other daughters Ellie, 14, and Megan. Right, welfare benefit solicitor Diane Harrison.
DELIGHT ... Amarni Gibson and her mum Gillian, pleased that they are going to keep a mobility car. Left, Gillian's other daughters Ellie, 14, and Megan. Right, welfare benefit solicitor Diane Harrison.

A SOUTH Tyneside mum has told of her delight after Government bosses did a U-turn on the decision to take away her disabled daughter’s mobility car.

Little Amarni Gibson was told by the Department of Work and Pensions, that the VW Golf her mum Gillian uses to ferry her about would have to go – because they no longer considered her disabled enough to qualify for it.

Mrs Gibson was devastated as her eight–year-old daughter suffers from the rare genetic condition Williams syndrome and is hooked up to a feeding machine 20 hours a day.

The Gazette revealed Amarni’s plight last month, and after Mrs Gibson contacted MP David Miliband her case was referred to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Station Approach, South Shields.

But now the family have been told they will be able to keep the car plus Amarni’s disability living allowance – which had been reduced to the lowest level two years ago – would also be increased.

Mrs Gibson. 35, from Marsden, South Shields, said: “I am over the moon. It feels like we have won the lottery, we are all so pleased.

“In fact, I am quite shocked at how quickly everything has progressed over the last few days. We are all just so grateful for everyone’s help.

“It would have been an impossible task to try to take Amarni out without the car, and thankfully now it won’t come to that.”

How we reported the original story: {http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/health/disabled-girl-faces-losing-her-lifeline-1-4285472 |Disabled girl faces losing her lifeline|Disabled girl faces losing her lifeline}

Mrs Gibson was due to appeal the decision at a tribunal, but Diane Harrison, a welfare benefit solicitor, speeded up proceedings by contacting the disability benefits centre and explained Amarni’s circumstances.

She said: “This is just one example of the work the bureau does on a day-to-day basis, ensuring those who are legally entitled to benefits get their correct awards.

“In this particular case, we are pleased that the centre was able to revise its decision without the need of a length tribunal process.”

Mrs Gibson, who is also mum to Megan, four, and Ellie, 14, says she’s been touched by the support she’s received from well-wishers.

She said: “Lots of people have been in touch to say they thought it was a disgrace that Amarni could lose her car – when she is quite clearly disabled. We’re just glad it’s all been sorted and she will have access to a mobility vehicle for at least another three years before the case is reviewed again.”

A spokesman for the DWP added: “As part of the appeals process, we always have a reconsideration of the case before it proceeds to tribunal.

“In this case, the family was notified of our decision last week.”

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