Aqeel became spinal cord injured following surgery to remove a Spinal Cord Tumour in 2016, after which he was unable to return to his home, which was now inaccessible to him. To avoid a prolonged stay in hospital, his ex-partner Samina agreed that he could live in her home for a short period until accessible accommodation could be found for him.  Aqeel has been living in Samina's house, with three children, since February 2016.  The house is not accessible; he needs help to get to the bathroom upstairs and to wash he has to go to the local swimming pool, aided by a friend.  Aqeel wanted to move into his own accessible property and applied for benefits he was entitled to.  His claim for Housing Benefit was turned down as the Local Authority believed that the tenancy agreement was contrived and he was also found fit for work and his ESA stopped.  The appeal against this decision was heard by a Tribunal in May 2017, at which he was represented by our Advisor.  The appeal was successful, but by August Aqeel had still not received any payments.

Aspire's investigations found that the DWP had suspended the claim because they were unclear as to how Aqeel had been able to support himself during the nine months prior to the Tribunal, when he had been using his PIP payments and relying on the generosity of Samina to house him.  Our Welfare Benefits Advisor was convinced that the DWP had been incorrect and unfair to suspend the claim and contacted Aqeel's local MP, who wrote to the DWP suggesting they produce evidence.  As they had none, in October 2017 Aqeel received £14,000 owed to him, which will allow him to gain his independence, both personally and financially.

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