The Blue Badge scheme, which helps disabled people park closer to their destinations, has been extended to those with “hidden disabilities”.

The Department for Transport announced changes to legislation which, for the first time, allows drivers or passengers with hidden disabilities such as learning disabilities, autism, dementia and mental health conditions to apply for a Blue Badge, if their condition causes them difficulties while taking journeys.

Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "The Blue Badge scheme is an important way of enabling people with disabilities to live a fuller life.

“We welcome the broadening of the eligibility criteria, which will mean that more people who need Blue Badges to enable them to travel more easily will be able to get them.

“For drivers or passengers with dementia, anxiety disorders or reduced mobility, the anticipation of travel difficulties such as finding a parking space can build on top of the stress of the journey itself, and for many people being able to park closer to their destination can mean the difference between going out or not.”
The new guidance, which came into force last week, represents the biggest change to the Blue Badge scheme since the 1970s. 

To ensure a robust and fair assessment of eligibility, applicants will need to provide substantial evidence which demonstrates that they are unable to walk, that they experience very considerable difficulty whilst walking, or that they are either at risk of serious harm when walking, or pose, when walking, a risk of serious harm to others. 

Applicants will also need to provide documentation which confirms their long-term or permanent condition - such as medical letters or reports from healthcare professionals, details of medication taken, Education, Health and Care Plans or social care plans. They will also need to provide details of any coping strategies that have been implemented and why these have not been successful.

To apply for a Blue Badge, please visit GOV.UK. For more details about the scheme, please visit Blue Badge Scheme.