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BBC.No blue badge as Maesteg man does not claim benefits

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Robin Thomas by his car Image caption "I spent all my life working - I've never asked for anything," says Robin Thomas

A former police officer who struggles to walk after health problems says he cannot understand why he was denied a blue badge for disabled parking.

Robin Thomas, 80, has had a heart attack, two mini strokes and a seizure but said Bridgend council turned him down as he does not claim benefits.

Age Cymru is now calling for a more consistent and compassionate approach when allocating blue badges.

The council said it had followed Welsh Government guidelines.

Some people automatically qualify for a blue badge based on criteria such as being in receipt of personal independent payments (PIP) or disability living allowance.

However, councils can also give out discretionary blue badges to people who struggle to walk.

'I stumble along'

Mr Thomas, who is from Maesteg and worked for South Wales Police for 35 years, said he had recovered well from open heart surgery and an operation to unblock a neck artery, but his mobility was poor.

When he was assessed by the council for a badge, Mr Thomas was asked if he claimed benefits. He was also asked to walk less than 10ft across an office, which he said was not a fair way to test his mobility.

Robin Thomas in his police uniform Image copyright Family photo Image caption Robin Thomas worked for South Wales Police for 35 years

"I can get about but I'm very slow on my feet... When I walk I tend to stumble along... the further I go I tend to trip on kerbs or off the steps," he said.

"I don't claim benefits and never have done. They told me I didn't have enough points because I don't claim benefits which let me down."


Mr Thomas said he would use the blue badge to go swimming at Maesteg pool for his health. At the moment, his daughter has to drop him off as there is nowhere to park close by.

"I spent all my life working - I've never asked for anything," he added.

Valerie Billingham Image caption Valerie Billingham, from Age Cymru, says there is a lot of variation between different areas

Valerie Billingham, policy and campaigns manager at Age Cymru, said the system of linking eligibility criteria with welfare benefits was ineffective, because many older people did not claim benefits even if they might be entitled to them.

She said there was a lot of variation between different councils in how they applied the criteria.

"For a lot of people the blue badge means the difference between staying at home and getting out and living a full and active life," she added.

The charity is now calling for more consistency and compassion in the way the criteria is applied across Wales.

The Welsh Government said it had developed "best practice guidance" in partnership with health professionals for councils and the Welsh Local Government Association said councils recognised the importance of the scheme to those with limited mobility.

A Bridgend council spokesman said it had followed the guidelines.

He added: "Blue badges are provided to those who are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty walking.

"If Mr Thomas feels he has been assessed unfairly, we would happily review his application."         https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47975700      Cant see why this ex officer cant have a blue badge after reading this story .

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If you've ever tried to get anything out of a council then you will see how entrenched in bureaucracy they are and often with guidelines which require either months of interpretive scrutiny or the landing of a bottle of single malt in the right person's hand.

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On the other hand, this same morning a woman is claiming it will make her life so much easier to have such a blue badge as it will allow her to park much closer to wherever it is she needs to be going at the time as her son suffers autism. Well, I'm mot entirely convinced that just because your child suffers autism, which she is claiming makes him harder to control in keeping him on the pavement, makes you a candidate for a blue badge, especially when we have far more deserving candidates as above.

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Zulu 22

This was reported this morning and is already in force in Wales and Scotland.  They are now including mental health issues. Sorry but the Blue Badge scheme was for people with mobility issues. That was the main reason for the scheme that the person was unable to walk or they had severe difficulty.  They interviewed a man who had been in a wheel chair from the age of 3 after suffering Polio. He stated that it was difficult enough trying to find a disabled space already without further, unnecessary badge issues.  

However in the reported case I would be a little surprised that the applicant would still be a licence holder with his medical issues. He should however be entitled to a blue badge for his wife to be able to convey him.



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It’s unhelpful when individual councils misinterpret eligibility rules like this.


But it is also important to clarify that not all disabilities are visible. The problem is that people see individuals whom are seemingly visibly ok and then pass judgement on them. Or, in worse case scenarios, abuse them.


There was a case was recently on 24 Hours in Police Custody where some idiot punched and killed someone whom parked in a disabled bay. The had recently survived cancer and was recovering, yet some stupid old man took his life with one punch.



I also got abused once when my Nan was alive when I moved my mum’s car closer to a restaurant before everyone left, in order to make it easier for me NaN to hobble to the car. She couldn’t walk unassisted (i.e had to hold onto someone and use a frame) and she sadly previously had many falls. She was in her 90s and could barely walk. The disabled bay was taken at the time when we arrived and she had to be dropped outside, which held up traffic.


Yet, some mouthy moose started gobbjng off at me after I parked in the bay and wouldn’t listen when I was explaining that the badge belonged to my Nan and not me. She seemed to think that the badge belonged to the driver despite many people with disabilities not being able to drive.


I just think that we need to be careful if we start to pass judgement on people whom we see in real life with a blue badge when we know none of their circumstances. Not that I am suggesting that anyone on here would do such a thing.





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Reasonable Man
, especially when we have far more deserving candidates as above.

There’s the rub. Who decides who is the more deserving, and are they right?

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There a big problem with welfare and that is there will also be someone 'more' deserving. That is to say if you got 100 disabled people in a room and said we are selecting 25% of them as the most vulnerable then you could removed 75 of them from the equation. With the 25 left you could then say we are selecting 25% of the most vulnerable out of that group, leaving 7 and so forth. Which is where the government appear to hailing from with their current 'helping the most vulnerable in society' mandate - which is cuts disguised as help.

People need a blue badge for all sorts of reasons and legitimately so. It isn't a perk or a expression of self importance but something which enables a person to live a more normal life and access services the rest of us can, which they may not otherwise do so. I'm sure many of us are au fait with people in wheelchairs needing blue badges and also elderly hobbling along with walking frames etc, however there are a number of people with less visible conditions who require accessibility too. If we engage on the whos more deserving fallacy then we risk taking away from people's lives who may already be restricted in fashions we may not fully understand. Quite often doctors and healthcare professionals are privy to much more knowledge on the subject than a person behind the counter at the council or the illnesses considered "guchi" because they attract a lot of media attention or public sympathy. Which is wrong.

There are numerous occasions when people's benefits or support are reinstated purely on a news article because cancer, Parkinson's or war hero is mentioned. Without so much as a need for a tribunal because the relevant agency suddenly declares new evidence has appeared out the ether. Whilst it is true these people are deserving of their support it makes it much more harder for those who don't fit into this category and have to fight for what they need because the court of public sympathy and opinion doesn't recognise their disability or simply isn't bothered. Yet we don't actually see how their disability really affects them.

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