The Government’s new Blue Badge criteria will better capture the needs of people living with hidden disabilities. These are the first major changes to the Blue Badge system in 40 years.
In addition to the physical elements of the Blue Badge scheme, the new criteria will be more comprehensive, taking into account the psychological distress and serious harm that could be caused when people are walking from their car to their destination.
The changes to the Blue Badge criteria are welcome; the clearer inclusion of some invisible disabilities including Crohn’s and Colitis may help in changing the perception of eligibility within the minds of local authorities.
The criteria is still restricted to issues with walking between a parked car and the intended destination. Our lobbying has increased the Government’s recognition that some people living with Crohn’s or Colitis should be eligible for a Blue Badge. But, it is also clear that the new system may still only capture a very small minority of people living with Crohn’s or Colitis.
With the limited criteria that only covers the time between parking and end destination, many people living with Crohn’s or Colitis will still struggle to successfully apply for a Blue Badge.
The new Blue Badge criteria
Under the new criteria, an enduring and substantial disability will need to last in some way for the period of the Blue Badge, which is three years. This wording has changed from the previous criteria to better reflect that some disabilities fluctuate or can for periods, respond to treatment.
The new guidance remains only non-statutory guidance, which means that there may be variation in Blue Badge systems across local authorities, depending on their interpretation and application of the guidance.
Will the changes benefit those living with Crohn’s or Colitis?
The changes to the Blue Badge criteria are welcome but it will take time for the changes to imbed in order to ascertain how this may ultimately affect the success rate of those applying for a Blue Badge and living with Crohn’s, Colitis or another form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
It is clear that the change in criteria will not be as comprehensive as first set out by the Government. Unless someone has considerable pain whilst walking, experience severe or overwhelming anxiety whilst walking or that the act of walking from a car to a destination, could cause serious harm to themselves or others, it will still remain difficult for some people living with Crohn’s or Colitis to successfully apply for a Blue Badge.
However, we would still encourage people to apply for a Blue Badge under this new system.