Blue Badges

By: A.C.

There are quite a few articles on this blog that comment on how disabled people look at themselves, and the definitions of what Disability is and is not under the Disability Discrimination Act 2010. (See our previous article titled Definitions)

I wonder how many of our volunteers, and clients have heard someone say “But nobody has told me I’m disabled”.

I heard someone say this recently in relation to the seemingly interminable wait for a Blue Badge from Aberdeen City Council, which if granted would make life for them just that bit easier and less painful.

I explained, as best as my memory could, that nobody does actually say “You are a disabled person now – here is something to signify that”. One simply becomes aware of what is happening to your body, and what disability means in the quite specific legislation covering discrimination, State Benefit, Blue Badge Scheme, or Mobility. Advice is given here on what ‘ Registering as Disabled’ means and what criteria is usually accepted for that official designation.

In many cases realising one is disabled, is something that challenges many people, as many refuse to accept their condition. That situation is fine for those who have the backup, affluence, network or help needed to go about their daily lives. Many other people struggle with no advice or help and feel very alone as they battle with the reality of their particular disability. Nobody needs to tell you that you are disabled in these circumstances as being “ registered” is almost automatic. However, there are many disabling and life –changing disabilities that do not qualify for “being registered”. Those disabilities can have a big impact on one’s daily life and you will certainly know when incapacity affects your job, life or daily routine.

That is one of the reasons that Aberdeen Action on Disability exists. We are here to try and help and guide disabled people through the ever increasing complex world of form–filling and discrimination.

Under the Blue Badge Scheme, one “registers” with the Blue Badge Scheme for Scotland through the Local Authority. In essence that brings that “registered disabled” status. The following advice comes from Citizens Advice.

“If none of the strict conditions referred to in the Citizens Advice website applies to you, you may still be eligible. This is called being eligible subject to further assessment. This may apply to you if you are more than two years old and you meet one of these criteria:

• you have a permanent or substantial disability which means you can’t walk or are virtually unable to walk
• you are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk because of a temporary but substantial disability which is likely to last for a period of at least 12 months but less than 3 years
• you have severe upper limb disabilities
• you are applying on behalf of a child under three with a medical condition that requires them to be close to a vehicle for emergency medical treatment or transporting bulky medical equipment.”

Getting a Blue Badge is now a more strictly controlled scheme than it was a number of years back. In fact the Scheme itself now faces a problem where a Blue Badge is a very valuable commodity to those who live in inner city areas where parking is difficult, and they are stolen, traded or used fraudulently on a frequent basis.

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