From 30 August 2019 it will be easier for people with 'hidden disabilities' to apply for Blue Badges, and in some situations, they will be automatically entitled. Hidden disabilities can include things like anxiety, freezing or symptoms that may put people at risk of serious harm.
The Blue Badge scheme allows either a driver, or a passenger with the badge to park closer to where they are going. Being able to park closer to their destination can be a huge help to those people with Parkinson’s who have difficulty getting about.
More people with Parkinson's will be eligible
In the past, you could automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if you got the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or you receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ part of your assessment.
With the changes that will be introduced this month you will also be able to qualify automatically for a Blue Badge if you receive PIP and cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress.
Making sure people with Parkinson's dementia are not excluded
When the changes were first proposed, the Department for Transport were not going to include people with dementia in the new criteria. But after pressure from Parkinson's UK and others in the charitable sector they have now agreed to include dementia as a condition that may make people eligible.
Parkinson's UK Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser Michael Griffin commented:
“This change is a step in the right direction for making transport more inclusive for people affected by Parkinson’s and other conditions.
"It’s good to see that the Department for Transport has responded to our concerns for people with dementia, as this exclusion would have left thousands to struggle.”
More work to be done
Another tool that helps keep people with Parkinson's independent is the disabled persons bus pass. However, these passes cannot be used before 9:30am during the week.
Michael added: “This places severe restrictions on disabled people attempting to find or remain in work, as they are not able to travel during peak times, which is often a key requirement of employees.
"This is something we will want to change, and Parkinson's UK will be campaigning to remove these time restrictions so those who feel able to work, do not have barriers put in their way.”
Campaign with us to make transport more inclusive
If you have had difficulties getting to work using a disabled person's bus pass and want to share your experience with us, please email [email protected] or call 020 7963 9349.