War hero Aaron wins battle for benefits
9:02am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
AN Afghan war hero has won his fight to have his disability benefits reinstated.
Aaron Moon lost a leg in a roadside bomb — but the Department of work and Pensions stopped his Disability Living Allowance (DLA), claiming he was not disabled enough.
Former Royal Marine Mr Moon suffered horrific injuries, including multiple broken bones, in February, 2009.
The 25-year-old, from Westhoughton, was just two weeks into his first combat tour when the Viking armoured vehicle he was driving hit an improvised explosive device (IED) as it was returning from a patrol in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province.
He was blown through the door and suffered fractures to his shoulder, spine, pelvis, hip, heel and legs, a ruptured spleen, dislocated knees and a broken leg.
In November, 2010, his leg was amputated below the knee despite the efforts of medical staff to save it.
Since May, 2009, he had claimed £100 per week DLA — which is awarded to help a person with disability costs regardless of whether or not they are capable of work.
But in November, last year, the DWP ordered him to have a medical assessment.
Mr Moon claimed the nurse carrying out the assessment read out a list of his injuries, including the fact he had had his leg amputated, but still asked him to “move his toes” and “point his feet to the floor”, and “looked surprised” when he took off his leg to show him it was a prosthetic.
The veteran later received a letter saying his DLA had been withdrawn because he could “walk 200 metres pain-free”.
Mr Moon, of Madison Park, claimed when he phoned to complain, a DWP staff member told him a prosthetic leg “was just as good as having his own leg”.
He took the government to a tribunal and yesterday a panel reinstated the higher rate mobility component of his DLA, which will now be backdated to December last year.
But his lower rate care component was not reinstated.
He said: “I’m happy now. It was intensive, there were a lot of questions being asked about my injuries and how I got around.”
Mr Moon still suffers pain and infections in his leg and is due to undergo another operation.
He said: “It’s been a big distraction with my operation and everything but it’s over and done with now.
“I still feel annoyed about it, I shouldn’t have had to go through this.”
Mr Moon added he does not know how much money he will now receive but said he hopes his story inspires others.
He said: “Being in The Bolton News brought this to the public’s attention and I hope it encourages people who are in the same position.
“If they deserve it they should fight for it.”
He was represented at his tribunal by Mike Downes of the British Limbless Ex Service Men's Association, who submitted a dossier of medical evidence from senior doctors backing the former Marine’s case.
Mr Downes said: “I’m just pleased for Aaron that he can now put the last 12 months behind him.
“The care component was stopped but it’s the mobility aspect which was the most important because it opens the door to things like blue badges, which Aaron needs.”
A DWP spokesman added: "We owe the men and women who have served their country a huge debt of gratitude and cases like this show exactly why we need to reform the system.
“In future seriously injured members of the armed forces will automatically get the support they need and won't have to do a separate assessment.
"Everyone has the right to appeal a decision at an independent tribunal and often people provide additional information to go with their original claim which can have an effect on the outcome of their case."