Lee contacted Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Advice Service as he had been awarded PIP at the enhanced rate for mobility and the standard rate for daily living.  Aspire reviewed this and believed it to be incorrect, so helped Lee appeal this decision by writing a request for a mandatory reconsideration on his behalf.  This was successful; the DWP overturned their original decision and Lee is now receiving the enhanced rate for both the daily living and mobility components of PIP.  

I was 20 when I was paralysed by a spinal cord injury (SCI).  I had a motorbike accident on my way home from work on a Friday evening, but I don’t remember it, thankfully. Witnesses said I flew in the air like superman, but I didn’t hit the ground as gracefully. I had so many injuries - a punctured lung, broken ribs and legs. I broke my neck and my back so I’m lucky my injury is as low as it is. I was in Queens Medical Centre for about two months before being transferred to the Sheffield Spinal Injury Centre.

Lee on a quad bike

At first, I was most concerned about my lungs as I was in ICU for about two months and had to have a tracheotomy. I just wanted to get my lungs stronger and working so I could get out. When I was in hospital I wasn’t too bothered about my injury or that I couldn’t walk, I just felt so lucky to be alive. I really wanted to get home and get on with my life, especially once I started rehab. Sheffield was a positive place for me because I learnt what I needed to do to make the best of the bad situation. Maybe being young helped, maybe I didn’t fully understand the impact, but I’m glad it went that way and I didn’t spiral into depression.

Lee playing his guitar

I taught myself how to play the guitar in Sheffield and one of the best things I’ve done since my injury is learning how to fly a plane. I got a scholarship for disabled people, something the RAF Air Cadets do, and did a four week intensive course to learn to fly a microlight airplane, which was specially adapted for anyone with a physical disability. I’m a petrol head and really miss my motorbike so this was a great experience; it gave me an adrenaline rush and a lot of confidence. I would have loved to have got a full licence, but it is very expensive.  I still do a lot now, I’m very active - quad biking and things like that.

Lee sitting in the cockpit of a plane

I needed help with my Personal Independence Payment (PIP) so I called Aspire's Welfare Benefits Advice Service and dealing with them was so good from start to finish.  I’m not very good with paperwork so start procrastinating and the stress makes me poorly. I find myself in this bad cycle and I think I would have ended up getting a bladder infection over this if they hadn’t helped me.

I wouldn’t have appealed the decision by myself.  I don’t think the DWP explain the appeal process well enough; I didn’t know a letter had to be sent until I spoke to Aspire. I wouldn’t have known what to do or what medical information to get. They really helped me.

Aspire knows so much about Spinal Cord Injury that it makes the whole thing easier to cope with. It’s nice not having to explain every little detail or repeat myself because they know it already and fill in the gaps. I like that that they had a sense of humour too, as Spinal Cord Injury can be hard to talk about and I hate it when I think I’ve made someone uncomfortable.  

Lee on a hill with friends

I use the extra money I now receive to pay for a cleaner because I struggle with that kind of thing. PIP helps me pay for that and now I have some control over my home. As I get older, I think I will need some kind of care or a visit from a carer and I’m sure PIP will help me with that too when the time comes.

I’m really thankful that Aspire's Welfare Benefits Advice Service is here to help. The service needs to stay open to people in the SCI community

I know a lot of people who are finding this PIP stuff stressful and I have told them to get in touch with Aspire.

Welfare Benefits Advice

Personal stories

How we help