A WOMAN who says she will not leave her house due to a 'severe' fear of open spaces claims to have had her disability benefits cut from an average of £250 a week to £110.

Irene Chegwin, of Broom Avenue, Leigh, says she faces a bleak 2017 after the £307 a month Disability Living Allowance she has received for the past 20 years was axed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The 59-year-old claims that this has led to a double financial whammy with her husband Stephen, 50, resultantly losing a £250 per month carer's allowance he was in receipt of for looking after his wife.

Irene said: "I was told by the DWP in November that I would have to attend a medical in Bolton.

"I told them I had been diagnosed with severe agoraphobia 20 years ago and could not attend, but despite this they insisted that if I did not attend the appointment my benefit would be stopped.

"After going there I subsequently received a letter telling me my benefits and my husband's carer's allowance were being stopped five days before Christmas."

She claims to also suffer from type two diabetes and kidney damage and says she is dependant on Stephen to do her shopping, pick up her prescriptions and to help her live as normal a life as is possible.

"If I go any distance from my home I have severe anxiety attacks," Irene said.

"Finding out that the benefits have now been lost has caused me even greater stress.

"We just don't know how we are going to pay the bills now.

"It is absolutely crazy for the DWP to suggest that I am fit for work when I can't even get out of the house.

"I am on anti-depressants and suffering chest pains as a result of the additional pressure this has put me under."

The Government scrapped Disability Living Allowance in favour of the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

A spokesman 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“We introduced PIP to replace the outdated DLA system.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.”

Irene added: "We are in the process of appealing."

The DWP says that if her appeal is successful payments can be backdated.