Russell Fleming, Content Manager, ME Association.
Changes to the eligibility criteria for the disabled parking badge came into force in England at the end of August.
A new online eligibility check and application process is aimed at making the process easier and the inclusion of people with non-visible disabilities marks the biggest change to the scheme in 50 years.
|“While the new criteria will give clear and consistent guidelines on Blue Badge eligibility for the whole of England, not everyone with non-visible disabilities will qualify for a badge. It will be up to the relevant local authority to decide if an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, as is currently the case.” UK Government.
Though some individuals with M.E. were previously entitled to a Blue Badge based largely on impaired mobility, the new changes may mean fewer people are rejected simply because the assessor cannot understand or visibly see the effects of their condition.
However, as is mentioned in the short video below, there are still concerns that non-disabled people will judge those with invisible illnesses using accessible parking spaces.
Have you experienced this kind of judgement before? Do you think these changes to the system of eligibility will encourage you to make an application?
5 Live News reported on this latest news and featured Pippa Stacey who has M.E. and will now be applying for a Blue Badge. Pippa also works part-time from home for the ME Association helping with social media and is interviewed along with Ceri Smith from the disability charity, Scope.
You can join our discussion about this news and its’ likely impact on MEA social media or by leaving a comment in the website section below.
- The ME Association has updated its leaflet on the Blue Badge in light of these changes. It includes a letter that can be used to help explain eligibility for people with M.E. and can be downloaded from the website shop.
Pippa has blogged previously on the issues she faced when applying for a Blue Badge and how she felt the system was geared to those with visible disabilities,
|“I’ve had three attempts at applying for a Blue Badge and been squarely rejected each and every time. It’s these experiences that have led me to believe that the Blue Badge assessment process simply isn’t fit for purpose for all invisibly ill people.” Pippa Stacey.
Image credit: 123RF/viteethumb
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