A disabled man has won his battle to keep his mobility scooter after he warned losing it would render him a "vegetable".
Ronnie Whitfield, of Twickenham Road, Isleworth , has a litany of health complaints including chronic degenerative spinal disease, diabetes and epilepsy.
The 56-year-old, who says he can only walk about 10 metres with the aid of crutches, has had a mobility scooter for the past three years.
But following an assessment, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told him he no longer qualified for one as he was not deemed to require the "enhanced rate" for mobility under the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit scheme, which has replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
After enlisting the support of his GP and the social services team at Hounslow Council , as well as getwestlondon , he was told by the DWP on Wednesday (April 13) that his appeal had been successful and he could keep the vehicle.
But his victory has been soured by the thought of others who may not be so lucky and whose lives he says could be ruined by the so-called "decision-makers" determining their payments.
'Wrong decisions could leave people feeling suicidal'
"I was so down when I got the original decision because it would have left me housebound, sitting on the sofa as a vegetable," he said.
"I'm obviously happy they've reversed it but if they could do this to me I'm sure there are lots of other people this is happening to who maybe haven't challenged the decision.
"These decision-makers can never understand what it's like to have a disability unless they've suffered with it. There will be people who will consider suicide because their lives are ruined by a wrong decision like this.
"My advice to anyone who's not happy with a decision is to challenge it and to make sure they gather as much medical evidence as they can to support their case."
Mr Whitfield, who says he worked as Richard Branson's personal photographer, claimed the "decision-maker" he spoke to was clearly not qualified to make such life-changing assessments as she admitted she didn't even understand what "degenerative" means.
He also urged people not to downplay the impact of their condition out of pride, as this could affect the level of benefits they received.
Mr Whitfield's GP had described the mobility scooter as a "life-saver" in a letter supporting his patient's appeal.
'Benefit decisions made after reviewing all the evidence'
A DWP spokeswoman said: "People are able to appeal a benefit decision, and following a review of this case it has been decided that Mr Whitfield is entitled to retain the use of a mobility scooter."
She added that PIP awards were made after considering all the evidence, including an assessment and information provided by the claimant and their GP.
She said if a claimant's condition changes, they can ask for their case to be reassessed, and claims by people who are terminally ill can be fast-tracked.
A boy in Chiswick with a rare incurable disease has appealed for the public's health to buy an electric wheelchair which he says will give him back his independence.