Aspire has a number of different services which will often work closely together in order to support someone with a Spinal Cord Injury in whatever way they can.

Phil, who was paralysed by a spinal cord injury in 2016 (by falling from a height), recently rang Kim, Aspire’s Grants Officer, to discuss the support he might be able to receive, and during the course of the conversation revealed that he had recently burnt his back with a hot water bottle whilst trying to manage his pain levels.

Kim mentioned this to Colleen, Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Officer, who called Phil back to talk about the accident and to find out whether it was something that could help highlight the support he needs. Phil mentioned that when he went to hospital for the burn he was told that someone would be come to his home to change the dressing, but no one had turned up and he wasn’t able to do it himself.

During the conversation Phil also told Colleen that he’d recently lost a lot of weight and was no longer able to use his standing frame. Colleen discussed this with Belinda, Aspire’s Housing Manager, who called Stoke Mandeville hospital to raise her concerns around both the burn and the standing frame.  When Colleen next spoke with Phil, he said that a community nurse was coming out that afternoon to dress the burn and he had been told he was going to be re-assessed for a new standing frame and wheelchair.

At the same time, Aspire’s Welfare Benefits team were working with Phil to support his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim.   The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) didn't award Phil what we thought he was entitled to, so it went to Mandatory Reconsideration, at which the DWP backed their original decision, so Aspire lodged an appeal. Normally this would mean that the case then gets heard at Tribunal, but the DWP re-reviewed the case and finally gave Phil the entitlement we believed he should have had from the start of the process. 

Not only is Phil now receiving the correct benefits, he was also entitled to a back payment of £600, which he may use to upgrade his mobility scooter.  He is also going to use his PIP payments for weekly hydrotherapy. This is not something he could afford without PIP.

Phil says, “I’m so happy that I haven’t got to go to a tribunal, the relief is unbelievable. I can’t put into words how superb Aspire has been through everything - not just regarding benefits, but just listening to me all the time.  You took so much of my anxiety away because I literally passed the ball to you and you did it.  I think having Aspire’s support makes the DWP take us more seriously. I’d tell everyone to get help from you. I’m so grateful and I am not even worried about the PIP reviews because I know I can call you again.”

Alex Rankin, Aspire’s Director of Services, says, “We are extremely proud of the way that Aspire’s Services team worked together to support Phil; taking the time to listen to him and talking to each other to ensure the correct people were contacted so that he received the vital support he needed.”

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