I have had a blue badge now for 6 years and my health has steadily been deteriorating. I have to take 15 prescriptions a day to keep me ticking over. I have been diagnosed with RLD due to fibrosis on the inside and outside of my lungs plus PAH. To top that off I have a paralysed diaphragm and arthritis to my feet, knees, shoulder, Neck and 3 collapsed vertebra in my spine. Nearly forgot I have atrial Fibrillation and Tachycardia too.
A Letter came saying I need to be assessed by an independent assessor? What got me the most I filled in all the forms for the renewal well in advance so I can get the new one before it ends in December to have my assessment date late January 2014. So I will not be issued a new badge until they have approved the badge.
I called them up to see why I cannot have the meeting in the time my badge is valid. To be promised a call? The person I spoke to mentioned that he could hear I was out of breath talking on the phone. With the colder weather creeping in my car and badge are my only means of access to many places like doctors hospital etc. I had sent al my medical letters with my application.
After many calls back and forth I got a call from the senior customer service manager who apologized and said they have made a mistake and I was always down for a badge !
The councils have the budget for the BB and also the right to allow or deny it seems they are using the PIP/DLA 20 metre rule as the straw to break the camels back.
What is the 20 metre rule?
The 20 metre rule is the new distance that has been introduced for people to qualify for the enhanced
rate of the mobility component of PIP. It is less than the length of two buses, and differs from the
distance of 50 metres typically used to assess people for the upper rate of the mobility component of
Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
The PIP criteria state that only those who, ‘Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more
than 20 metres, either aided or unaided’ will qualify for the enhanced rate of the mobility component.
Individuals must be able to complete the distance safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in
a reasonable time period, but can use aids such as walking sticks, crutches and prostheses.
The impact of the policy
The enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP is worth £55.25 a week. Those that no longer
qualify (but still receive the standard rate) will lose £33.25 a week or, crucially, access to their
Motability vehicle. Government projections show that over 428,000 people will no longer qualify for the
enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP by 20182
The DBC believe that the impact of this policy will include:
• Disabled people dropping out of work, education or volunteering activities
• Increased poverty and isolation of disabled people, with the associated risk of worsening health
• Rising costs elsewhere, such as unemployment benefits, the Access to Work Scheme, social care
The policy is inconsistent with government guidelines
A 50 metre benchmark distance is a well-established and research based measure of significant
mobility impairment – notably in relation to other disability benefits including DLA, the blue (disabled)
parking badge and in official guidance on creating an accessible built environment, including the siting
of disabled parking spaces adjacent to public and commercial buildings. Indeed, in the notes to the
second draft of the PIP criteria, dated November 2011, DWP admits on page 61:
“50 metres is considered to be the distance that an individual is required to be able to walk in order to
achieve a basic level of independence...”
The introduction of the 20 metre measure has not been made as a result of any new research, and
directly contradicts the previously well-embedded distance of 50 metres.
Loss of access to Motability will be devastating
The loss of access to the Motability scheme as a result of the 20 metre rule is a particularly terrifying
prospect for many disabled people. Those that have contacted us refer to their car as a ‘lifeline’ - the
means by which they take part in everyday life.
In discussions with Motability we have been told that those who no longer qualify for the scheme will
be given the option to purchase their car, but typically these will cost in excess of £8000 - a sum far in
excess of the resources many disabled people will have available to them. Losing access to the
scheme not only means losing access to a car, but also the added benefits of cheaper insurance and
means of looking after the vehicle. Taking on these costs, even with a cheaper vehicle, will be
unmanageable for many disabled who are reliant on benefits to cope with the additional costs they
In addition, the policy does not just apply to those who depend on a car. Those making new claims to
PIP who can only walk a very short distance – but even slightly further than 20 metres – will no longer
be able to access motorised scooters or electric wheelchairs from Motability either. Many of these
people will be confined to their homes. This is directly contrary to the government’s stated intention
that PIP exists to help people live ‘independent lives’.