Victory! Boy with half a heart has decision to take away benefits on his birthday overturned

A tribunal ruled the DWP decision was incorrect and now Ben Gamble’s family will receive their proper benefits again

A boy born with half a heart, who had benefits used to provide him with 24-hour care taken away on his birthday, has won a court appeal against the decision.

Eight-year-old Ben Gamble was born without a left ventricle meaning his heart only has one pump instead of two – making it difficult for blood to be pumped around his body.

The Whitley Primary School pupil has undergone five heart operations, has been resuscitated twice, and will need a transplant if he is to reach adulthood. Ben, who refers to his chest scars as his ‘zip’, also faces his next operation around Christmas time.

On Ben’s eighth birthday government officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) took away a large part of his disability allowance after concluding that the fact he can walk 50 metres at a normal pace means his incurable condition is not as severe as previously assessed.

The callous nature of the benefits cut was compounded by the fact the letter arrived on Ben’s birthday and referred to him as “James”.

The decision to withdraw the disability allowance had a knock on effect on other support payments, including some from Coventry City Council, leaving the family facing a monthly income shortfall of more than £700.

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