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New guidance has been issued to local authorities requiring them to extend eligibility to the blue badge scheme to people with hidden disabilities from 30 August 2019. The new criteria will cover some claimants with conditions such as dementia, autism and severe anxiety.

Under new regulations laid before parliament in April and coming into force at the end of August, blue badge eligibility will extend to people who:

are unable to walk;

experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, which may include very considerable psychological distress; or

be at risk of serious harm when walking; or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to any other person;”;

Automatically eligible claimants will now include those who:

“obtained a score of 10 points in relation to the “planning and following journeys” activity on the grounds that they cannot undertake any journey because it would cause them overwhelming psychological distress.”

This is in addition to claimants who already automatically qualify because they:

“obtained a score of at least 8 points in relation to the “moving around” activity”.

This is covered by the following descriptors:

c. Can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 8 points.

d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 10 points.

e. Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided. 12 points.

f. Cannot, either aided or unaided, –

(i) stand; or

(ii) move more than 1 metre. 12 points.

The wording of the regulations has also been altered to change the word ‘permanent’ to ‘enduring’:

“has an enduring and substantial disability”

This has been changed on the grounds that it cannot always be certain that a claimant with a mental health condition will have the same level of need on a permanent basis.

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said:

“The changes will make a huge difference to thousands of autistic people and their families across England – helping them to go out in the way many others take for granted.”

“Just leaving the house is incredibly difficult for many autistic people – and involves detailed preparation. Some autistic people have no concept of the dangers of the road while others are so anxious about plans going wrong, like not being able to find a parking space, that they don’t go out at all. Having a Blue Badge will be life-changing and help many to reduce loneliness and isolation.”

There are currently around 2.35 million blue badges in the UK. The new criteria are expected to considerably increase this number.

But at the same time the government has announced a review into blue badge fraud, with figures suggesting that theft of blue badges went up 45% last year alone.

There are more details about the new blue badge on the .gov.uk website.

You can download the new 150 page guidance for local authorities on blue badges from this page.


#4 Darachi 2019-10-23 14:21
Does anybody know of any legal challenges around the denial of a BB where descriptor F (12 points) has been awarded?

I am going to challenge the denial with a letter from our GP (as well as information on diagnosed conditions and statements already provided).

Also, is it not still the case that LAs still have residual discretion that they can exercise in individual cases?

Please do keep this thread updated on your experiences and results.
#3 Mike 2019-06-24 18:19
Have read the DfT guidance issued to local authorities.
Am concerned about the way they describe need for a carer in some situations.

14 ...We had proposed specifically including people who ‘cannot follow the route of a journey without another person’. However, it has been made clear that this would mean including some people who need another person with them, but can otherwise physically walk well and also without psychological distress or challenging behaviours. The department believes that where people suffer very considerable psychological distress or other difficulty when walking, or have a risk of very considerable harm to their health or safety (including people with dementia), they should be eligible for a badge. However, where the applicant would not go out alone and the presence of another person negates the above mentioned issues, then we do not believe badges should be issued. Needing another person on every journey does not necessarily equate to needing to park nearby.

15 The primary aim of the scheme is to give disabled people who rely on car travel but face particular challenges in getting from the car to their destination, the ability to park close-by. The department believes the badge should directly benefit the individual; to ensure the sustainability of the scheme we do not believe badges should be awarded in situations where the carer is effectively the beneficiary.

Our 31 yr old son can walk miles, but cannot speak, and is unable either to journey-plan, or to display either road sense or recognition of stranger danger. For his safety, he never travels alone.
He receives DLA, (not PIPped yet). Not higher rate mobility merely because his night times care needs aren't severe enough(!).

Am about to apply for a blue badge on his behalf. I'm concerned that the presence of a carer could be seen as negating his need!

#2 jackus 2019-06-19 18:47
I have training and filled in many PIP and ESA forms with success in awards and some failures. When the descriptor referes to most of the time. MH is a variable condition and in some cases you may be able to venture out with someone. However, this could be once a week and you spend a lot of tie recuperating from the experiance. So you could use the blue badge on the day you can manage the condition with support. From face value the descriptors can be misleading but check out the Benifits and Work guides on PIP.
+1 #1 Crazydiamond 2019-06-19 12:46
Apparently, it is only descriptor 1e under the 'Planning and following journeys' subsection which would qualify as overwhelming psychological distress, and enable a claimant to then qualify for a Blue Badge.

This however, would appear to be completely with odds with the wording of the descriptor, because if a claimant can go out in a vehicle, by definition they are able to undertake a journey albeit with help of another person. It would be extremely unlikely in the circumstances as prescribed, that a claimant would be able to go out alone.

It therefore follows that in taking into account the literal wording of the descriptor, surely a person who undertakes 'a journey' by whatever means, cannot possibly meet descriptor 1e because in my view, it could only apply to someone who is completely housebound.

Indeed, it would appear to be more appropriate to descriptors 1d and 1f, whereby a claimant who suffers overwhelming psychological distress a on familiar/unfami liar journeys, and requires support from another person to alleviate the distress, is actually undertaking a journey in the same way as a person who meets descriptor 1e. Would't these claimants likewise, qualify for a Blue Badge?

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