24 June, 2019
The government has published new rules on the Blue Badge Scheme that plays a vital role in allowing 2.4 million disabled people in England to maintain their independence through special national parking concessions. These new rules will start to apply from the 30 August 2019.
As a result of the consultation, automatic entitlement to the Blue Badge will be extended to those in England who score 10 points under the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) mobility test of being ‘unable to undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant’.
Entitlement will also be extended to those who are assessed as having an enduring and substantial difficulty which causes them during a journey to either:
- Be unable to walk.
- Experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, which may include very considerable psychological distress.
- Be at risk of serious harm when walking; or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to any other person.
The new rules also allow local authorities to use a broader range of professionals to assess the nature and effects of an applicant’s particular disability on their ability to get around.
The current rules embrace all conditions, physical or otherwise, but it has become clear to the government that the regulations and guidance are not clearly understood by local authorities. People with hidden disabilities, such as a stoma, may be finding it difficult to access badges, even though their condition causes them very significant difficulties when undertaking a journey.
The proposition is that the scheme should be about enabling people to make journeys that would otherwise be extremely difficult and to focus on the journey rather than just the physical act of walking.
Colostomy UK welcomes the updated guidance. Our position is unchanged in that having a stoma should not lead to an automatic entitlement for a blue badge. Instead, we would prefer to see a system whereby applications for badges are judged individually, on their own merits. This is because every ostomate is different. For some, their stoma presents no barriers to living a full and active life. Others though, are less fortunate. For these people, a blue badge could be a life changer, heralding the return of confidence and independence, and empowering them to do things that were previously difficult or impossible.
To find out more visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/review-of-blue-badge-fraud-as-scheme-is-extended-to-those-with-hidden-disabilities
24th June 2019