Heartache of soldier who lost leg in bomb blast, only to face benefits battle
A FORMER soldier, maimed by a bomb blast that killed his friend, has told of his heartache despite winning his battle to keep his disability benefit.
Aron Shelton, 27, lost the lower part of his leg in 2008 after being injured by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
The Bridlington resident has fought for the past 18 months to keep his car, which he was told he would lose as part of the benefits cutback.
At a two-minute tribunal in Scarborough yesterday, it was decided he would get to keep his car indefinitely.
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Speaking after the ruling, Aron said: "No one should have to go through the heartache I have been through.
"I lost my breath when the decision was read out. I didn't have high hopes.
"This should never have happened in the first place.
"I hope my successful battle gives other people in a similar situation hope."
Initially, Aron was offered £180 a month in benefit payments or an adapted car – he chose the car.
After an 18-month struggle, he learned to walk a few hundred metres.
But after assessing his condition, the Department for Work and Pensions threatened to take away his car.
Aron appealed, but it was unsuccessful, so he went to a tribunal which has now ruled in his favour.
He said: "I don't think I would have been successful had it not been for the support of the residents and the Royal British Legion.
"Having put 100 per cent into this battle, I now want to concentrate on learning to become a bus driver.
"This is something I can do without suffering any pain."
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "We owe the men and women who have served their country a huge debt of gratitude and cases like this illustrate why we are making changes to the way we assess eligibility to Disability Living Allowance.
"We are introducing a new, more objective assessment and regular reviews, to ensure the system is fairer and targets those most in need."