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UK quadruple amputee’s three-month wait for disability payment

Caroline Coaster

Caroline Coaster, who recently underwent a quadruple amputation, says “it makes no sense” that she will need to wait for three months before being paid disability allowance; adding to the trauma that she has  from a brush with death during a medically induced coma while being treated for sepsis.

Caroline Coster, 58, caught coronavirus in March but had her hands and feet amputated after getting sepsis. She questioned whether the wait to get her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was “just in case they grow back,” according to news reports.

A government spokesman said PIP claims could be made as soon as someone’s “needs arise or change”.

Coaster is not alone, as the Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) said while people could claim immediately, but claimants would need to meet the three-month minimum period before being eligible to be paid.

After recovering from Covid-19, Mrs. Coster, from Bedford, developed sepsis, an extreme reaction to infection that causes vital organs to shut down. She almost died twice while in a medically induced coma at Bedford Hospital.

The mother-of-two recovered but her hands and feet had been deprived of blood and had to be amputated.

Mrs. Coster has since been undergoing rehabilitation while applying for PIP, a benefit to help people with long-term disabilities meet extra costs.

She became concerned when she read on DWP website that to “get PIP” people must have “a health condition or disability where you have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months”.

“It makes no sense to me at all,” she said. “It is pretty obvious I’m going to need some help.”

Mrs. Coster said she was worried the delay would mean she could not process applications for adjustments to her home.

She said she feared being “tied to a manual wheelchair” while waiting for essential modifications such as a stairlift and a ramp to allow her to go in and out of the house.

“Until we have a ramp, I can’t even take the dog out for a walk,” she said.

Caroline Coster is worried she won’t even be able to take her dog for a walk.  Work on the bathroom will also be needed for Mrs. Coster to carry out basic tasks such as showering, using the toilet, and having a wash.

“My husband would have to be my carer,” she said. “I don’t want that. I want to be independent.”

Mrs. Coster said she also had “a recurring nightmare they will say I am fit to work”.

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