A woman left paralysed down one side of her body after a brain operation has had her care and support axed by Kirklees Council.
Lindley resident Leander Stones acquired hemiplegia after suffering an aneurysm, permanently losing the use of her left arm and leg.
She suffered the aneurysm in 2011 during five hours of neurosurgery to remove a benign brain tumour which was the size of an orange.
Now the council has cut the 43-year-old’s direct payments which employ a casual personal assistant to help with physically challenging tasks such as shopping, to take Leander out during the day so that she doesn’t become socially isolated and to provide her fiancé with respite.
The former NHS employee, who uses a walking stick as well as orthotic supports, said: “My condition hasn’t changed. The council say I should be paying for my PA myself because I’m in receipt of other benefits, but I’m barely making ends meet as it is.
“They said my fiancé can care for me, but he works full-time. He does care for me outside his job so anything left over from my direct payments I pay to him which the council agreed to in previous meetings.
“They also said you’re only 43, you have friends and family, but my family are approaching 80 and they have their own health problems.
“They said they were giving me one month of notice, but the payments stopped immediately and I couldn’t even give my PA notice.”
After returning to work for two years she says she experienced concentration and memory problems and was eventually ‘forced’ into ill-health retirement, making her eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefits.
She moved to Lindley where she was still eligible for direct payments from Kirklees Council.
A community assessment and support officer from Kirklees Council dismissed Leander’s direct payments during a care needs assessment review last month.
Leander said: “Kirklees Council don’t understand my disability. I never had a problem with Calderdale Council. It makes me wonder if I’m the only disabled person having issues with them.”
Using her lump sum pension she bought an adapted car, partially subsidised by the government’s Motability Scheme, and most recently a retirement home with her fiancé.
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “The (national) guidance states that a PA cannot be someone that lives in the same house, this includes a spouse or partner, except for in unique circumstances such as when someone has a specialist communication need.
“We consider each person’s circumstances on a case by case basis, only withdrawing this method of support if the payments are being used in a way that contravenes this national guidance.
“We sympathise with Ms Stones’ situation and have been in regular contact with her regarding the care and support we can offer her and her carer.”