I was anxious about everything I had seen and heard about benefits and how difficult it is to appeal. But right from the very get-go with Aspire, my mind was put at ease.

After my injury in 2006 I did some voluntary work and some courses to try to get back into work. But my mental health and pain issues meant I felt like I didn’t have a choice but to apply for benefits to help me cover the costs to live. The benefits I receive mean that I can have a Motability car which is huge for me, it gives me the independence to go anywhere I want and, because the insurance and maintenance are taken care of, it takes the pressure off me. I love spending time with my family, going swimming and I’ve got into riding an adapted motorcycle through another charity.

John on his motorbike

I had used the Aspire Welfare Benefits Advice Service some years ago, so when I had to move from DLA to PIP I gave them a call. They helped me with the form and talked me through the health assessment process, but when the decision came back I hadn’t been given the award we thought I was entitled to; the DWP seemed to think that because I can get around indoors using crutches that I can walk longer distances outside too.

Aspire helped me submit more evidence and asked the DWP to reconsider their decision - when they did that, they overturned that original decision and upgraded the award.

I couldn’t have got through the process without Aspire. They know the ins and outs of Spinal Cord Injury which makes a massive difference.

I always felt comfortable asking for help, and the Aspire team were always able to answer my questions. I just couldn’t have got through the whole thing without them.

John on his motorbike

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