People with hidden disabilities can access Blue Badges for the first time from today

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Fibromyalgia affects your bones and muscles and it is second most common condition. Yet it’s often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Its classic symptoms are widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue. There’s no cure. But a combination of medication, exercise, managing your stress, and healthy habits may ease your symptoms enough that you can live a normal, active life.

What causes it is not known by doctors, but some think it’s a problem with how your brain and spinal cord process pain signals from your nerves. Fibromyalgia can feel similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. But rather than hurting in a specific area, the pain and stiffness could be throughout your body.

No confirmation test is available that can tell you that you have fibromyalgia. Instead, because the symptoms are so similar to other conditions, your doctor will want to rule out illnesses such as an underactive thyroid, different types of arthritis, and lupus. Your blood tests may be done to check hormone levels and signs of swelling, as well as X-rays.

Expanded eligibility and simplified application process for Blue Badges

  • Extension to Blue Badge scheme comes into force in England today for people who have non-visible disabilities, making travel easier
  • New online eligibility check launched to make it simpler for people applying for the badges
  • Today marks the biggest change to the scheme in nearly 50 years

People with hidden disabilities, including anxiety disorders or a brain injury, can apply for a Blue Badge for the first time from today (30 August 2019). Apply for or renew a Blue Badge

The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued new guidance to councils in England on Blue Badge parking permit eligibility, along with a new online eligibility checker to make the scheme clearer for people before they apply.

People who may get a Blue Badge

You may be eligible for a badge if one or more of the following applies:

  • you cannot walk at all
  • you cannot walk without help from someone else or using mobility aids
  • you find walking very difficult due to pain, breathlessness or the time it takes
  • walking is dangerous to your health and safety
  • you have a terminal illness, which means you cannot walk or find walking very difficult and have a DS1500 form
  • you have a severe disability in both arms and drive regularly, but cannot operate pay-and-display parking machines
  • you have a child under the age of 3 with a medical condition that means the child always needs to be accompanied by bulky medical equipment
  • you have a child under the age of 3 with a medical condition that means the child must always be kept near a vehicle in case they need emergency medical treatment
  • you are constantly a significant risk to themselves or others near vehicles, in traffic or car parks
  • you struggle severely to plan or follow a journey
  • you find it difficult or impossible to control your actions and lack awareness of the impact you could have on others
  • you regularly have intense and overwhelming responses to situations causing temporary loss of behavioural control
  • you frequently become extremely anxious or fearful of public/open spaces

Your local council will decide if you are eligible for a badge. They cannot start the assessment process until they have all the necessary evidence. It may take 12 weeks or longer to assess your application. If they decide that you are not eligible and you think that they did not take account of all the facts, you can ask them to consider your application again.

Fibromyalgia and disability

Fibromyalgia (FM) is one of the harder conditions to get approved for as a disability. Medical documents and a doctor to support your case will be required because the symptoms are often self-reported. But it’s possible to have a successful claim for FM. The SSA is responsible for evaluating all disability applications. When reviewing your case, the SSA will determine if you have a medically determinable impairment (MDI) of FM.

There are extensive requirements for claiming disability due to FM. They consists, symptoms that must be severe and present for at least three months, documented evidence that rules out other conditions and statements from you and others about any restrictions or inabilities on your daily activities.

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Blue badge parking Recap

Blue badge parking permits could soon be entitled to people with hidden disabilities under Department for Transport (DfT) plans. The Government said the proposals would make it easier for people with conditions such as dementia and autism to travel to work, socialise and access shops and services in England. Since it was introduced in 1970, It is hoped that this move would be the biggest change to the blue badge scheme and would help create equality in the treatment of physical and mental health.

The DfT said councils have different interpretations of existing rules with only some recognizing hidden disabilities. About 2.4 million disabled people in England have a blue badge. This allows them to park free of charge in pay-and-display bays and for up to three hours on yellow lines, whereas in London they excused holders from having to pay the blocking charge.

Around three out of four blue badge holders say they would go out less often if they did not have one, according to the DfT. Greater variety of healthcare professionals are carrying out Blue badge assessments who can spot whether mental illness is causing mobility problems is also included in changes being put to an eight-week public discussion.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Blue badges give people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible. “We desire to try to broaden this to people with undetectable disabilities, so they can benefit from the liberty to get out and about, where and when they want.”

Sarah Lambert, the head of policy at the National Autistic Society, welcomed the proposal and said amending parking permit access could be “a lifeline” for many autistic people, who often do not qualify under current regulations. If autistic people are not capable to park in an expected place close to their destination they can suffer anxiety, and some can “experience too much information” from the surroundings around them on public transport, Lambert said. “We hope the government will make this important change and we look forward to working with them to make sure that autistic people and their families benefit.”

Here are the people who will be eligible under the changes

  • – People who cannot make a journey without ‘a risk of serious harm to their health or safety’ or that of others, including young children with autism.
  • – People who suffer ‘very considerable psychological distress’ when they make a journey
  • – People with considerable difficulty walking, which covers ‘both the physical act and experience of walking’

People with hidden disabilities will be able to apply for a Blue Badge in 2019.

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Also Read:

Fibromyalgia is Official Recognized by the Social Security Administration – Federal Registrar,US

 

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Sources:

  • Govt,UK 
  • by Neil Lancefield via Independent.co.uk
  • ITV Report 
  • People with hidden disabilities to benefit from Blue Badges via Gov.Uk

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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