A Blue Badge provides a range of parking concessions for people with mobility problems which mean they need to park close to places they need to go.
We know that for some people with autism, a Blue Badge can be an absolute lifeline, allowing them to lead an independent and more fulfilled life.
We have been campaigning for a number of years to ensure that people with autism who could benefit from a Blue Badge are able to access one. As a result, we are starting to see some successes, particularly for adults with autism of working age.
Working age adults with autism
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16-64 is being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). As PIP replaces DLA, it is expected that more adults with autism in Wales will qualify for a Blue Badge.
In the PIP rules, there are two different ways of qualifying for the mobility part of the benefit. One is called the 'moving around' criteria which relates to physical disability. The other is called the 'planning and following a journey' criteria which adults with autism are more likely to qualify for.
Following NAS Cymru’s work, the Welsh Government decided to link access to a Blue Badge with the 'planning and following a journey' criteria of PIP for working age adults. You can therefore get a Blue Badge if you score 12 points under the 'planning and following a journey' criteria of PIP. You score 12 points if you "cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid".
Find out more about PIP here.
Children and over 65s
NAS Cymru continues to work and maintain ongoing discussions with the Welsh Government on the Blue Badge scheme, including widening access to the scheme for children with autism and over 65s who have autism, in particular.
As a result of our campaigning work in this area, the Welsh Government is currently consulting on proposals to extend the eligibility criteria to cover people who have cognitive and sensory impairments, regardless of their age. The consultation can be found on the Welsh Government website.