A BRAVE Greenock woman who suffered a massive stroke while in hospital waiting for a heart transplant was left stunned when her disability benefit was cut off.

In a distressing series of events Emma Carney has been left paralysed down the right hand side of her body, facing intensive daily rehabilitation.

She'd been admitted to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in March after her life-threatening heart condition rapidly deteriorated, and doctors told her she would need a new organ urgently.

Emma then faced another fight for her life when she suffered a stroke.

But on top of a gruelling long recovery, the 37-year-old has had to fight with the Department for Work and Pensions after her financial support suddenly stopped, missing out on thousands of pounds she should have received.

Emma, who lives in Fife Road, said: "There is very little I can remember about the stroke and the days after.

"I have been left paralysed down the right hand side with no movement in my arm and I have to wear a brace on my leg.

"I have carers coming in to help me and physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well.

"It is very much a case of waiting to see what happens and how much mobility I regain.

"It took me weeks just to be able to speak again."

Emma, who has previously spoken out in the Tele against hospital cuts was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy a decade ago and was first left fighting for her life in January 2020.

She lives with fiance Stephen and was employed until June 2020, when her condition was too severe to return to work in her insurance job.

At this point Emma was eligible for employment support allowance, which replaced disability living allowance for those who can no longer work because of their condition.

She said: "In April this year my payments just stopped all of a sudden without any warning or explanation.

"Obviously we had so much going on at the time, I was in hospital until July.

"But I tried to call to get to the bottom of what was happening.

"I was told that something had to be renewed in April.

"The job centre told me I had to get assessed by a specialist and they would call me.

"But no one ever phoned.

"This was the last thing I needed on top of recovering from a stroke."

Eventually a specialist medical assessment took place for an hour over the phone but the situation was still not resolved.

Emma added: "The doctor said the report would be sent away and it would all be sorted.

"Then I heard nothing more.

"I mean I was lucky that I had support, but what about other people out there who have no-one?"

Remarkably, a full seven months after her last payment Emma was still waiting for the support she is entitled to and the Telegraph took up her case with benefits chiefs.

Following this intervention her payments have finally restarted and been backdated.

Emma was in hospital waiting for a transplant when she suddenly started to feel unwell.

She added: "I just remember what seemed like loads of people rushing into the room.

"In my head I didn't think there was anything wrong, I was speaking to them but I could see by their reactions that something was seriously wrong.

"It was a scary time."

Emma ended up in intensive care and high dependency as her condition deteriorated.

She said: "I was in a really bad place at one point, it took about five weeks for my speech to come back.

"I was not allowed any visitors because of Covid and the nurses were always in the room trying to make sure I was okay.

"I was transferred from the Golden Jubilee to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and then doctors decided to move me to the Larkfield Unit where I could be closer to family and friends."

Benefits bosses have today apologised to Emma for their blunder.

Officials also said that as well as paying the arrears owed, Emma would also have her personal independent payments increased as a result of the change in circumstances relating to her decreased mobility.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “We have apologised to Ms Carney for the delay in carrying out her assessment.

"This was completed earlier this week and she has been paid fully up to date.

"We have been in touch with her to explain her payments.”

Emma said: "I can't thank the Tele enough for the support.

"I am taking it each day at a time and have to focus on my recovery from the stroke, but for now my heart condition has stabilised.

"I am fighting every day and people see improvements."