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Blue Badge Scheme To Be Extended To " Hidden " Disabilities - Carers UK Forum

Blue Badge Scheme To Be Extended To " Hidden " Disabilities

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Today's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -isolation

Blue badge scheme to provide ‘lifeline’ for mentally ill people.

Permit to park freely extended to those with ‘hidden conditions’, including autism.

The “blue badge” scheme, which allows people with disabilities to park close to their destinations – including on yellow lines – is to be extended to those with hidden conditions, such as mental health difficulties, in the biggest change to the system in 40 years.

The new rules, which could benefit millions of people, will come into effect early next year, in what ministers say is part of a move to give equal treatment to those with physical and mental health issues.

The new criteria will extend eligibility to those who cannot undertake a journey “without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)”. They will also include those who cannot do so without it causing them “very considerable psychological distress and those [who] have very considerable difficulty when walking”.

The change, which follows an eight-week consultation by the Department for Transport, was welcomed as a “massive step” and a “lifeline” by the National Autistic Society. Its director of external affairs, Jane Harris, said: “Just leaving the house is a challenge for many of the 600,000 autistic people in England, involving detailed preparation and sometimes overwhelming anxiety about plans going wrong. Some autistic people might not be aware of the dangers of the road or become overwhelmed by busy or loud environments. The possibility of not being able to find a parking space near where you’re going can mean you can’t contemplate leaving the house at all.

“A blue badge will be a lifeline and prevent a life of isolation. The existing rules are too focused on physical ability to walk and meant many autistic people didn’t qualify, reducing their independence. The National Autistic Society and our supporters have been raising this issue with the government for many years. We’re thrilled they have listened to the concerns of autistic people and their families, and put this right by taking into account their needs for certainty and safety.

“It’s vital these changes are implemented fully and quickly, and that all decisions about whether someone is entitled to a blue badge are taken by people who understand autism.”

Although the exact rules vary between local authorities, which issue the badges, holders can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, except in many cases where there are restrictions on loading or unloading. Badge holders may also park for free at many parking meters and pay-and-display machines, though they must use the badge clock to show the time they arrived.
My daughter is not deemed 'disabled enough' to get free parking

The transport minister, Jesse Norman, said: “Blue badges are a lifeline for disabled people, giving them the freedom and confidence to get to work and visit friends independently.” The minister for disabled people, health and work, Sarah Newton, said: “It’s absolutely right that disabled people are able to go about their daily life without worrying about how they will get from one place to another.”

About 2.4 million people have blue badges in England. The changes are also intended to streamline the system, putting an end to a postcode lottery under which local authorities apply eligibility criteria differently.

The system has been open to fraud in the past, with people who are not eligible borrowing or inheriting badges from those who made genuine applications. In 2010 the Audit Commission found 16,535 blue badges were still in operation despite the death of their registered holders.

I trust that all LAs / traffic wardens and other suits will be made fully aware of this ... and current regulations ?

Without which , there will be problems ... on a post code lottery.
If the current law does not explicitly exclude hidden disabilities, then there's no significant change then. Just another reason for able bodied people to gripe about those who do qualify. Great pity these so-called changes are necessary.

Not unlike the plight of those with service animals and the people are not visually impaired....
Thanks for this Chris, I was thinking about this just recently with the hols looming.
The Department for Transport said people with non-physical disabilities would have an equal right to free parking from next year.
I know this is a result, but "From next year!" What about NOW?! There are times when S is calm and we are fine to park anywhere and times when he is not and the risk to him and the public is high - why not now. I'm less fussed re the free aspect, it's more, that sometimes, I need to know I can get him to the car quickly, if needed.

Chris, your link isn't working, can you try again?

Thanks Melly.

BBC changed their URL , took the opportunity to post the much superior article from the Guardian.
My neighbour's daughter has a four year old with autism. She has a mobility vehicle and a blue badge for her son. You shouldn't need to wait until 2019!
It has been confirmed that changes to the eligibility criteria for the Blue Badge scheme will come into effect on 30th August 2019.

Following a consultation in 2018 the government announced that it will be extending the Blue Badge eligibility criteria to include people with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as dementia, autism and a number of mental health conditions. The new legislation has now been confirmed and after the 30th August 2019 people with ‘hidden’ disabilities will find it easier to obtain a Blue Badge
Read in full here
https://www.accessable.co.uk/articles/b ... M.facebook
Confirms what was posted in a previous thread :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... ties-34101
Chris From The Gulag wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:38 pm
Confirms what was posted in a previous thread :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... ties-34101
Have merged them. Thanks for pointing out the original topic

Thanks folk for update.
Am glad it's finally been agreed, but how mean to wait until end of August ... was hoping to get this sorted in time for the summer hols, ( when S is often most anxious.)

More from The Guardian :
Blue badge scheme now open to people with invisible disabilities.

New guidance means those with conditions such as dementia or anxiety may be eligible for parking permit.

People with invisible disabilities can now apply to use blue badge parking permits, the government has announced.

The Department for Transport (DfT) issued the new guidance on Saturday, advising that those with conditions such as dementia or anxiety disorders could be eligible for the scheme, which allows people to park closer to their destination.

But despite the new criteria, local authorities will still have the final say on who does and does not qualify.

There are about 2.35 million holders of the blue badge in the UK at present. The DfT could not estimate how many more people would qualify after the extension of the rules.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “As a society, we don’t do enough for people with hidden disabilities. I hope this change to blue badge guidance will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, said: “Extending the blue badge scheme is a watershed moment in ensuring those with hidden disabilities are able to travel with greater ease and live more independent lives.”

The DfT is also launching a review into blue badge fraud, after the Local Government Association estimated that theft of the parking permits rose by 45% in 2018, a six-fold increase since 2013.

More than 1,200 people faced legal action for misusing the blue badge in 2017-18; however, only 40% of local authorities in England did not have a policy on prosecutions.

The LGA said: “Despite limited resources, councils are trying to crack down on dishonest motorists by prosecuting offenders and seizing blue badges suspected of being used illegally, so it is good that the government has listened to our concerns and has committed to a review which will support councils in tackling fraudulent use.

“People can help councils win the fight against blue badge fraud, by tipping us off about people they suspect are illegally using a badge, bearing in mind this new eligibility and that people’s need for a badge might not be obvious.”