The Government has today published its report on people's eligibility for Blue Badges when Personal Independence Payments start replacing the Disability Living Allowance on 8 April this year.
Norman Lamb, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, writes:
I am today publishing my department’s consultation report on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and eligibility for a Blue Badge. I have decided that the Blue Badge scheme in future will be as similar to the current scheme as possible.
The government has recently announced important reforms to the welfare system. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will begin to be introduced for people who are aged 16 to 64 from 8 April 2013. From October 2013 onwards, PIP will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for existing DLA recipients aged between 16 and 64.
As around a third of all Blue Badges are currently issued to people who receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, my department consulted between July and October 2012 on the options, in England, for dealing with the impact of the welfare changes.
The government remains committed to ensuring that the Blue Badge scheme continues to be focussed on those people who will benefit most from the parking concessions that it offers, and that it is sustainable in the future.
Therefore, having carefully considered the responses to the consultation, I have decided that, when DLA is replaced by PIP, there should still be a legislative link that means those people who score 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity of PIP will be automatically eligible for a Blue Badge. This activity assesses a person’s physical ability to get around and a score of 8 points or more will be awarded to people who are either unable to walk or who cannot walk further than approximately 50 metres. This means that future eligibility for a Blue Badge will be as similar to the current eligibility criteria for the scheme as possible.
The relevant legislation will be changed in the near future. Any consequential changes to the Blue Badge scheme will be phased in, in line with the welfare changes. They will affect existing badge holders when a current badge expires and they apply for a new one. If an individual does not automatically qualify for a badge by virtue of a PIP award, they will be able to apply directly to their local authority to see whether they qualify under any of the other criteria.
These changes will not affect people under the age of 16 or over the age of 64.
A copy of the consultation response document has been placed in the House Libraries, and will also be available on the GOV.UK website.