Department for Transport extends Blue Badge scheme
The Department for Transport has announced that it is extending the Blue Badge scheme so that more people with ‘invisible’ health problems, such as autism and mental health problems, can now apply.
The Blue Badge scheme offers accessible parking for people who find travel difficult, allowing them to park closer to their destination than other drivers.
Although Blue Badges have always been available to people with mental health problems, when Disability Living Allowance (DLA) moved over to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the eligibility criteria changed meaning that many people with mental health problems lost their Blue Badges.
The Government has now recognised that people with mental health problems often struggle with these issues when it comes to taking public transport, making unfamiliar journeys or walking longer distances.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
“We’re really pleased that more people with mental health problems should now be able to access Blue Badges. This is an important step in the right direction - showing greater recognition of the many barriers faced by some people with mental health problems when it comes to leaving the house and making journeys. This decision comes less than a year after the legal case which found that many people with mental health problems were losing out on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit due to a discriminatory assessment process.
“Today’s announcement should mean that going forward, many more people with mental health problems will be able to more easily do the things lots of us take for granted – whether that’s buying groceries, going to doctor appointments or maintaining relationships with friends and family who provide vital social support.”