Blue Badge Scheme update
New look badge and changes to the way you get it
Last year the Government brought in major reforms to the Blue Badge scheme, some of which only came into force at the beginning of this year. If you've already got a Blue Badge, you may not notice any difference until you have to renew it. The main changes are:
♦ The assessment process, to decide whether you qualify for a Blue Badge, is more robust. The mobility criteria are largely unchanged but the rules are being more strictly enforced.
♦ Some disabled children, under 3 years old, with specific medical conditions, can now get a Blue Badge as can certain severely disabled service personnel and veterans.
♦ There is a standard application form and you can apply on-line, on the directgov website:
The Blue Badge Scheme is still administered by your local council, however, so if you prefer to apply by post, you can still contact them to ask for an application form.
♦ The NHS funds previously used for Blue Badge assessments have been transferred to local authorities who will all still use the same rules to assess people. The money is not ring-fenced, however, so the amount spent on assessment systems may vary in different areas.
♦ Local councils will no longer send for GP reports, to confirm applicants' mobility problems, since there are no more NHS funds to pay GPs. If you get do a support letter, free of charge, from your GP, it may not be accepted because GPs are seen as being too biased in favour of their patients.
♦ Reports from other health professionals, who know about your condition, are acceptable, e.g. your hospital consultant, physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
♦ If your council still needs more evidence, they can ask you to attend an individual assessment which will be carried out by an independent health professional. In some areas, councils may choose to use their funds to subcontract these assessments to an external organisation.
♦ The Blue Badge has a new, harder-to-forge design and you can't get it from the post office any more. All new badges are now printed and supplied by one company who charge local authorities £4.60 (minus VAT) for each Blue Badge issued to them.
♦ The Department for Transport has increased the maximum fee that councils can charge you for your Blue Badge, from £2 to £10 (first increase since 1983). Each authority can decide how much to charge but most are likely to increase fees to cover their costs.
♦ Councils also have tougher powers to tackle abuse and fraud. A new web-based management information system, with a common computerised store of key information on badges and badge holders, means that they will be able to make checks quickly and easily.
Blue Badges for people with Cystic Fibrosis
If you get DLA higher rate mobility component - you are automatically entitled to a Blue Badge. You must send proof of your Disability Living Allowance Mobility award, with your application.
If you don't get DLA higher rate mobility component - you may still qualify for a Blue Badge if you have significant mobility problems which meet the Blue Badge rules i.e. " a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking".
When you apply, you will need to send a report from a health professional, (e.g. hospital consultant or physiotherapist), to confirm that your mobility problems meet Blue Badge criteria.
If you provide enough evidence of your mobility problems with your application, it seems less likely that you will be referred for an independent medical assessment, as local councils will probably aim to keep the expense of their assessment systems to a minimum.
For more information:
Check your local council's website or visit the Department for Transport website: