Blue Badge eligibility extended to include non visible (hidden) disabilities
The Department for Transport has extended the eligibility criteria for Blue Badges which means people with non visible (hidden) disabilities may now be eligible.
The new legislation, which comes into force with effect from 30 August 2019, has been widened to include individuals who have been certified by an Expert Assessor as having an enduring and substantial disability which causes them during the course of a journey, to:
- 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 others.
The Blue Badge scheme is a national scheme designed to help people with severe mobility problems caused by visible and non-visible (hidden) disabilities to access goods and services, by allowing them to park close to their destination. The scheme is open to eligible disabled people, whether they are travelling as a driver or passenger.
The Department for Works and Pensions has advised that there are 420 people in Gloucestershire who will be automatically entitled to a Blue Badge under the new scheme, whilst others may be entitled subject to further assessment.
The county council is responsible for the administration of Blue Badges which are issued in accordance with eligibility criteria set out by the Department for Transport. The council does not have control over the criteria. It complies with all DfT guidance.
Anyone wishing to apply for a Blue Badge will need to complete an online application form and include a recent photo, proof of their identity and their disability and payment of the current £10 fee. Scanned copies of supporting information are acceptable. It’s important to provide as much information as possible in the first instance, as this will speed up the application process.
Printed copies of the application form are available however these do take longer to process. Please call 01242 532302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a paper form.
The application process can take up to 12 weeks, although this may be extended if the rules require an individual to have a medical assessment to confirm their eligibility.
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care delivery at Gloucestershire County Council said: “Blue Badges are a really important way of helping people to stay independent and this is welcome news for people in our county who have a non visible disability which may meet the new eligibility criteria.
“We expect that these changes will prompt a wave of new requests and I would encourage anyone submitting an application to do so online and provide as much information as they can, as this will allow our team to process their application more quickly.”
Full details of the Blue Badge scheme, including eligibility, how to apply and the concessions available to badge holders can be found here.
DfT Guidance Page
Eligibility checker and on-line application