The government recently announced changes to Blue Badge eligibility which is expected to come into force in 2019. This, in addition to changes in mobility allowances means eligibility for a Blue Badge has changed significantly. We asked independent mobility consultant Helen Dolphin MBE to explain this in a bit more detail and provide a roundup of what you need to do to check whether you’re eligible for a Blue Badge.
In the past, meeting the requirements to join the Motability Scheme and automatically qualifying for a Blue Badge went hand in hand. This was because to be eligible to join the Motability Scheme, for most customers, you needed to be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA) and if you received this allowance you automatically qualified for a Blue Badge. This meant that Motability Scheme customers in receipt of DLA could have a Blue Badge if they chose to apply.
This changed in 2013 when the government began moving people from DLA to the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The assessment for the mobility component of PIP measures people on two criteria. One tests their ability in “moving around”, and the other measures their understanding of “planning and following a journey”. In order to get an award of the mobility component of PIP you need to score 8 points for the standard rate and 12 points for the enhanced rate. To qualify for the Motability Scheme, you would need to be in receipt of PIP enhanced rate mobility. However, Blue Badge qualification is not based purely on qualifying for the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of PIP and eligibility criteria differs depending on where you live.
However, the government ran a consultation in 2018 which was concerned with eligibility issues in relation to the Blue Badge Scheme. This has resulted in a number of changes being proposed, which the government say that they plan to bring in at the earliest opportunity. This means some people who don’t currently qualify for a Blue Badge will be able to as soon as the new legislation is put into practice.
Qualifying for a Blue Badge with Personal Independence Payment
Currently you can qualify for a Blue Badge automatically if you live in England or Northern Ireland and have been awarded 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity of PIP.
In addition, the new proposals from the government state that they intend to provide an automatic route to qualifying for a Blue Badge for people who score 10 points under the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity of PIP, recognising that they could be unable to undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress. This change will only affect English applicants.
The rules are different if you in live in Scotland or Wales. Here you can already automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if you have been awarded 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity or 12 points in the ‘planning and following a journey’ activity of PIP.
Applying for a Blue Badge without a higher rate mobility allowance
If you lose your DLA in a PIP reassessment it does not mean categorically that you will not qualify for a Blue Badge, it just means you will no longer automatically qualify. You may still be able to qualify under the ‘further assessment’ route where your local authority will look at the evidence of your disability which may include an independent mobility assessment.
To qualify for a Blue Badge with further assessment a person must be aged two or over and one of the following applies:
- You have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking;
- You drive regularly, have a severe disability in both arms and are unable to operate, or have severe difficulty operating, all or some types of parking meter;
- You live in Scotland or Wales and you are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk because of a temporary but substantial disability which is likely to last for at least 12 months but less than three years;
- You live in Scotland, have a mental disorder (within the meaning of section 328 of the Mental Health (care & treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003) and you are considered to lack awareness of danger from traffic which is likely to compromise your safety or that or others during journeys. You must be getting one of the following – Middle or Highest Rate Care Component of DLA, Attendance Allowance or PIP (having been assessed as having limited/severely limited ability to carry out daily living activities).
For the current Blue badge qualification criteria visit www.gov.uk.
The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package that allows anyone in receipt of higher rate mobility allowances (such as the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance) to use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand new, reliable vehicle of your choice – giving you greater freedom, everyday.
If you’d like us to send you more information about the Motability Scheme, request an information pack below.
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