The Government has today announced that it is planning to make important changes to Blue Badge rules, which will mean that many autistic people in England will qualify.
This move follows years of campaigning from the National Autistic Society, our supporters, and other disabled people and families across England, including legal challenges against the Government and local authorities.
Existing rules are 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. Earlier this year, the Government consulted on proposals that would widen access to Blue Badges for people with many non-physical disabilities, including autistic people. We asked you to show your support for this proposal, and the Government heard you!
What do the new rules mean?
Under the new rules, there will be two important new ways that autistic people may qualify for a Blue Badge:
- 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; or
- If you have scored 10 points for PIP Mobility Component for “planning and making a journey” because making a journey causes ‘overwhelming psychological distress’ (we are seeking clarification about the exact meaning of this with the Government.)
Children who get Higher Rate Mobility Disability Living Allowance (HRMDLA) will also continue to qualify, as before.
A Blue Badge can be a lifeline for some autistic people and their families. It can be the difference between going to the shops and getting around, or being stuck at home unable to be a part of their community.
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