As you may have seen over the weekend, the Government has announced that it will be extending the eligibility criteria for blue badges. This is especially good news for people with learning disability and/ or autism as the changes are focused on widening eligibility to people with ‘hidden disabilities’.
This announcement follows a consultation which Mencap, along with other organisations and many families responded to. In our response, we highlighted the current ‘postcode lottery’ for blue badges as many people with a learning disability and/ or autism were relying on the Council granting them a discretionary blue badge often on a regular basis. Additionally, many people were losing blue badges as they moved from DLA to PIP, even though there was no change to the person’s mobility. The new eligibility will come into force in the new year, with the new automatic eligibility to include;
- those who ‘cannot undertake a journey without very considerable psychological distress’ (roughly equating to 10 points in the PIP descriptor for 'planning and following a journey),
- families with young children who may pose a ‘risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person’ and,
- those who have difficulty with ‘the physical act and the experience of walking’.
We are hoping that these changes will help individuals and families to get around their communities independently, safely and as easily as possible. And while this announcement is a significant step in the right direction there remains much work to be done. Mencap will continue to press the Government to create, implement and enforce clear guidelines for all Councils to ensure that those eligible for a blue badge will receive one.
If you have any questions about the announcement or about Mencap’s wider work in Parliament please do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.