Ex-RAF serviceman from Lincoln kept alive by portable machine has benefits reinstated
An ex-serviceman with heart failure celebrated a second Christmas with his kids after having his benefits reinstated.
Alex Smith had been told he was fit to work after a medical assessment, despite being kept alive by a machine after suffering heart failure.
Should the machine become disconnected, Mr Smith would only have 15 seconds before he started to die.
Following the assessment, his £420-a-month Employment Support Allowance was scrapped. But after lodging an appeal with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the former RAF police dog handler had his benefits paid on Christmas Eve.
"It is a huge relief to have this money coming back in," said the father of two from Arboretum Avenue, Lincoln.
"I had a letter just before Christmas saying that my appeal had gone to tribunal and it was found in my favour.
"The money was paid into my account on Christmas Eve."
The Echo revealed that Mr Smith's payments had been stopped and that Lincoln MP Karl McCartney was to write to the DWP.
"The support I have had since the first story has been incredible," he said.
"Everyone was wishing me luck and saying they thought it was terrible and our MP Karl McCartney was excellent, too.
"I am glad it has been sorted but the whole thing has been frustrating.
"I realise people have got a job to do but when it is pointless and a waste of time, it is annoying.
"There are people who are mentally weaker than me who wouldn't have been able to fight this and they are the people who will lose out.
"I am now hoping that this problem doesn't happen again because it puts a huge strain on you when you already have a massive health problem."
Mr Smith said the appeal victory topped off a special Christmas.
"I have had my kids around and we have had a second Christmas Day with them," he said.
"I had to buy all the gifts for them on a credit card.
"This news has put the cherry on top of a great Christmas for us."
Mr McCartney said: "I will be on hand if Mr Smith feels I can help on this issue again in the future."