Blue Badge changes come into force in England

The changes the Government promised to make to the Blue Badge Scheme last summer come into force today in England, meaning many more autistic people will qualify for a Blue Badge.

The old rules were too focused on people’s physical ability to walk, and changes to Government guidance in 2014 meant that autistic people found it too hard to get a Blue Badge. For many people, this meant they weren’t able to go out and about and could become socially isolated.

Under the new rules, there will be two important new ways that autistic people may qualify for a Blue Badge.

  • You could be eligible subject to a further assessment if you can’t undertake a journey without being at risk of serious harm, it causing “very considerable psychological distress”, or if you have very considerable difficulty when walking.
  • You should be automatically eligible if you have qualified for PIP Mobility Component and have scored exactly 10 points for “planning and making a journey” because making a journey causes “overwhelming psychological distress”.

Tim Nicholls Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the National Autistic Society said:

We are delighted to see the new Blue Badge rules come into force. This will be a huge relief for thousands of autistic people and their families in England, many of whom weren’t able to get this vital support under the old rules and 2014 guidance, which were too focused on people’s physical ability to walk. 

It’s absolutely essential that council officials making decisions about Blue Badges understand autism and the challenges autistic people can face getting out and about.

Date added: 30 August 2019