Blue Badge Scheme Changes to Cover Mental Illnesses

Earlier this year, the Department for Transport announced that from 2019, people with ‘hidden disabilities’ will also be granted blue badge parking permits.

Blue badge parking permits enable holders to park closer to their destination, and are given to anyone who cannot make a journey without ‘risk of serious harm to health or safety’. In the past, blue badge permits have only been available to anyone who is ‘disabled or [has] a health condition that affects your mobility’.

What do the changes mean?

The changes to the Blue Badge scheme are the biggest overhaul of the system in 40 years and mean that people with less obvious conditions, such as mental health illnesses, will have the same right to park in disabled bays.

The changes come after a consultation that was conducted in January this year, in which an eight-week trial featuring 6,000 responses highlighted that people with mental health problems also struggle with travel issues the same as physically disabled people.

Who will these changes include?

The changes will mean the Blue Badge scheme can also apply to people with ‘hidden disabilities’, which includes things such as mental health issues and physical disabilities that don’t necessarily mean the use of a wheelchair, mobility scooter, or crutches are needed.

Hidden disabilities include:

  • Depression
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Coeliac disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain

What’s next?

The changes to the Blue Badge scheme won’t come into effect until 2019, so until then the current regulations to apply to the scheme.

If you or someone you care for has mobility issues or a disability, apply for a Blue Badge here.

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