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Dagenham autistic man wins back car from government

PUBLISHED: 16:58 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 12 August 2019

Autism sufferer Aaron Drain with his mum Karen in front of their old car. Picture: Ken Mears.

Autism sufferer Aaron Drain with his mum Karen in front of their old car. Picture: Ken Mears.

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An autistic Dagenham man has won back the car he depends on.

Tony Parker helped the Drain's prepare their appeal and spoke for the family at the hearing. Picture: Karen Drain.Tony Parker helped the Drain's prepare their appeal and spoke for the family at the hearing. Picture: Karen Drain.

The Department for Work and Pensions took away Aaron Drain's car in May this year after a review of his disability, despite the fact that his condition has given him a severe fear of public transport.

Aaron, 22, gets the car through Personal Independence Payments. Based on a points system, he missed out on the car by a single mark.

Judges returned the car to him at a tribunal appeal on August 5. He won't be reviewed again until 2023.

The victory represents months of work gathering evidence against the DWP's decision.

Family friend Tony Parker with Aaron Drain. Picture: Karen Drain.Family friend Tony Parker with Aaron Drain. Picture: Karen Drain.

Part of that effort was done by family friend Tony Parker, who spoke at Aaron's appeal.

"If I thought there was any doubt, I couldn't have done it, but there was no doubt that the DWP's decision was wrong," he said.

"He lost the car for three months, so has really been confined to his bedroom, which is like a cell to him."

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Of the more than 40,000 PIP cases that went to hearing from October to December last year, 80 per cent went to the appellant and against the DWP, according to Ministry of Justice data.

Karen Drain, Aaron's mum, was glad to see the end of the saga.

"I'm feeling very tired," she said.

"Going through it for nine months and all the worry, it's done all of a sudden.

"I'm glad it's all over. All the letters we've been writing, all the evidence."

The car means the family can go on their annual holiday to the beach, giving Aaron and Karen a break.

More importantly, it means Aaron can visit family and go to the Osborne Centre, which helps disabled adults.

The DWP didn't comment on why it had opposed the appeal when no one from the department showed up to defend its position at the hearing.

A spokeswoman said: "We are committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they are entitled to, and decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the individual and their GP or medical specialist.

"Mr Drain continued to receive other benefits while awaiting the outcome of his PIP appeal."

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