Claimants who should be automatically entitled to a new Blue Badge are being left in misery because of the DWP’s backlog of PIP reviews..
Benefits and Work is hearing from members who are facing a choice between paying repeated fees for short term renewals of their Blue Badge or having to complete a form and provide evidence which one member described as being ‘worse than applying for PIP’ and which does not guarantee they will get the badge they should be automatically entitled to.
The problem is being caused by the enormous backlog of PIP reviews, with the DWP now using software which extends PIP awards repeatedly when they are close to ending, if a review has still not been completed.
Automatic Blue Badge
Some claimants automatically qualify for a Blue Badge.
This includes people who are awarded the PIP mobility component because:
- they can’t stand and move more than 50 metres and are awarded 8 points or more for ‘moving around’, or
- because they cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress, descriptor E under ‘Planning and following journeys’.
Claimants who don’t automatically qualify have to provide evidence to show their eligibility for a Blue Badge.
The problem claimants who should qualify automatically are encountering is that many local authorities require proof of the end date of a claimant’s PIP award before they will issue a Blue Badge.
If PIP is being awarded on a repeated short-term basis then claimants may either not have proof of the end date of their award or they will only have proof that it has been awarded for a few months or less.
Without any proof of an end date, no automatic Blue Badge will be given.
With proof only that an award will last say three months a claimant may have to pay £10 for each renewal and may have to wait a large part of that time for the new badge to be issued.
Members’ Blue Badge problems
We have received feedback and forum posts about this issue from members and it is clearly one that is of growing concern.
One member told us:
“I sent my renewal form back in May 2021 and the DWP have put me in a queue for an assessment even though the only change to my chronic health issues has been the introduction of long covid.
My blue badge expires at the end of June 2022 when my award runs out and my local authority will not give me a badge unless the DWP supply me with an end date award.
I have spoken to DWP who said that they cannot help me. The agent asked his manager if he could speed up my assessment and he refused. I have been told that as I put covid issues on my form that I have been placed in a different format for assessment.
I told the agent that I filled the form in in May 2021 and that I am almost free from the effects of covid. I have also been informed that I will receive PIP on a rolling month basis until an assessment is carried out. I have received DLA now PIP since 1996 and I will not get any better.
Have I any other way to address this issue as I will soon not have any access to shops etc if I do not have a blue badge. My local authority have not been much help as they state that they require an end date reward from the DWP who will not supply me with a letter of explanation.”
Another member told us that when faced with the same problem they filled out an application form for a Blue Badge.
“I was given regular repeated 3 month extension letters of award by dwp ( if I chased up) but the problem was you then had send for a blue badge for only 3 months at a time and pay £10 each time, and it said it took nearly that to apply.
I asked the council what to do, so they said fill out the form as if you don’t have PIP (so without passporting), and send in the 3 month letter and explanation letter. This was Gloucestershire council. They processed it and sent me a 3 year one, without assessment and in about a fortnight.”
But one member decided to manage without a Blue Badge for the time being rather than attempt yet another complex and stressful period of form filling:
“I then went on line to apply for my blue badge via local government (council) website.
I filled out the form best I could, and received an email with the councils blue badge award criteria. Well its asking for tons and tons of evidence, etc. Worse than applying for pip if you ask me.
So I'm going not send off evidence, I’m going to let the application expire, and they will reject my blue badge application.
Then hopefully when my pip has been decided etc, I will then reapply for blue badge under the PIP criteria. The councils criteria seemed more stressful in regards to obtaining evidence, than PIP itself. and lots of the criteria never applied to me. like cancer, oncologist, do you have a Macmillan supporter etc.”
For some members, a short-term award was worth the cost:
“I encountered exactly the same problem last year. I took photos of my extension award notice plus a photo of my ugly mug and applied online (this was after a phone call to my council blue badge department advising me to do so) and I got my badge after paying online via an e mail link I was sent. It was only a short extension, can't remember how long for, but not much more than six months, and I duly got my badge. It's up to you as to whether a 'short fix' will do for now and is worth the £10 admin fee, but at least my local council were fine with it.”
Have you had difficulties with getting your Blue Badge renewed because of the PIP backlog and how did you deal with them? Let us know in the comments section below.
You can read the full Blue Badge criteria on the .gov website