Being disabled means you have to put in 50% more effort than the next person because you are judged all the time, but that only makes me want to achieve as much as I can.

I have never viewed my injury as a barrier that stops me getting on with my life and doing the things I want to do.

I was only 12 when I was injured so I’m not sure I really knew what was going on. But it had a huge impact on the family; I am the oldest of four, with three younger sisters and there was a huge shift in the dynamics because, in effect, I became the youngest who needed to be taken care of. My mother was incredible, she never made me feel like my injury was a disadvantage, she never lost sight of who I was and what I could achieve and never let me forget that either.

I graduated from university and have worked hard since, working my way up the ladder and spending time in offices around the world. I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do and I’d be doing this whether I could walk or not. I have to travel a lot with work and I’m now confident going anywhere, even to countries that aren’t so aware of accessibility. Any trip takes planning, but it’s always achievable; no matter the problem there is always a solution wherever you are, you just have to think about it and not panic. I have the mindset that I will go anywhere in the world and figure it out with the people around me because people are usually willing to help. At the end of the day, I’m there to do my job.

Indeep in his wheelchair at the airport

When I got the PIP form I was anxious. The need to change from DLA seemed so stupid, and the form was confusing, with ambiguous questions that didn’t seem to relate to someone with a spinal cord injury. The Aspire Welfare Benefits Advice team took the pressure off me, helping me understand what was being asked for and how to think about my answers. When it came to the assessment, I was really worried but Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Advisor talked me through how it would be and reminded me that I needed to verbalise everything and not assume that they had any knowledge of Spinal Cord Injury.

I have additional costs that come with my Spinal Cord Injury - I pay a lot for transport, and also have a cleaner and a gardener. I might not be able to do those things for myself, but by employing people to do them it gives me a say and control of what’s going on. PIP helps me meet some of these sort of costs and to be independent.

With the support of Aspire, I got my full entitlement. The Aspire team provided meaningful help and without them I’m not even sure I would have been able to complete the process. They really are the experts.

Welfare Benefits Advice

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