BENEFITS EXPERT: Do I qualify for a Blue Badge?

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I am a 71 year old man who wonders if I could qualify for a Blue Disability Badge for parking and motoring related expenses. I did apply once but was told that, as my disability was cancer of the larynx, ‘I could walk OK!’ I have recently started to drive a pensioner friend to her hospital appointments and shopping trips. She suffers from swelling of the feet which makes it difficult to get about. She receives no disability benefits but we would like to know if she is eligible for any help with her parking costs. We live in Sunderland.

People automatically qualify for the Blue Badge for disabled parking concessions if they receive the High Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance, or a war pensioner’s mobility supplement, or are registered blind, or have been awarded certain mobility points when assessed for the Personal Independence Payment.

However, people who do not meet any of these conditions may qualify if they have a ‘permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking’. Claims for the Blue Badge should be made to the local council. People living in Sunderland should apply to Customer Service Network, PO Box 1274, Sunderland, SR5 9HN

I am currently engaged in correspondence with the Department for Work and Pensions about Savings Credit, Guarantee Pension Credit and ‘assessed income periods’. I confess I do not really understand what they are trying to tell me. Can you help? I will be 80 next year.

People over 65 may be entitled to Savings Credit. Savings Credit may be paid in addition to Guarantee Pension Credit or on its own. However, Savings Credit will not now be payable to people who reach 65 on or after 6 April 2016. When a person is on Savings Credit there is a period during which they do not have to report certain changes in their circumstances such as increases and reductions in their savings. This is called ‘an assessed income period’.

That period normally lasts for five years but will last for an indefinite period in certain circumstances. However, no such periods will be set for people who reach 65 after 6 April 2016. Also people whose periods are due to end between April 2019 and April 2021 will have those dates brought forward.

People will be written to explaining how they will be affected.

My disabled son will shortly be going into NHS-funded residential care. Will he keep his ESA and PIP?

He can keep the mobility component of his PIP but only retains ESA if it is contribution-based.