These changes will mean that automatic entitlement for a Blue Badge will now be linked to the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP) that will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age, 16 to 64.
These changes to the Blue Badge scheme in Wales will reflect changes in the UK welfare benefits system.
The Welsh Government is extending automatic eligibility for a Blue Badge to people who can stand and then move but no more than 50 metres and to those who cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. This includes people with sensory impairments and those with cognitive impairments.
Work is also underway to explore how local authorities can identify those people who face the same difficulties in travelling, but are not automatically eligible for a Blue Badge, as they are not of working age and cannot apply for PIP. This is a complex area that needs further research.
The Minister said:
“We have already made some important changes to the Blue Badge system in Wales. These changes build on the good progress we have made and represent another important step in modernising the scheme. They will also make an important contribution reducing poverty amongst some of our poorest communities by making access to the workplace and to services easier.”
“We’ve always been clear about our concern at the potential impact that UK Government welfare reforms may have on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Wales.
“By linking automatic eligibility for a Blue Badge in Wales to PIP we’ve helped to mitigate the detrimental impact that changes to the UK welfare system will have on those who currently have access to a free Blue Badge in Wales. and reduced the burden of assessment on vulnerable applicants and local authorities.”