Do not be put off by being turned down for a disabled badge on the first application. The rules are indeed changing to allow people with 'hidden' disabilities to acquire badges. However, this is not the point I wish to make about your application or your appeal.
Sometimes the worst person to make the application is the person whom the disability affects. It's a bit like being represented in court where the best advice/ representation is likely to come from a solicitor or barrister, because they have experience of the 'system' and know exactly what to say to sway the decision makers.
People who approve (or disapprove) the allocation of badges are given guidelines as to when a badge should be issued and the decision making is often arbitrary.
Many years ago when I was one of these arbiters (for blue badges), there was a simple ‘test’ which none of the applicants even knew about. They were given an appointment to see us at the end of a long corridor in our office building. The reasoning was, that if they could walk the length of the corridor to get to the appointment, then they would not be eligible for a badge (Simple but effective decision making).
With the advent of the new rules and the inclusion of people with ‘hidden’ disabilities, there will still be assessors who are sticking to the principles enshrined in the old rules.
What is needed are skilled and informed advocates who can educate the assessors about the necessity of having a badge for those people who were not eligible under the old scheme.
When I was advocating for people, I would outline what is called ‘the worst-case-scenario’, with graphic illustrations of what can go wrong if the ‘benefits’ (in this case a badge) are not allocated.
I found it interesting that, even under the old system, when I related stories about disasters surrounding incontinence and the need to access public toilets, I was encouraged to apply for a ‘disabled’ badge, with the assurance that I would get one, given my unusual and outrageous set of circumstances.
In my case, I felt I did not need the badge because I was only telling my graphic stories to illustrate that it is not only the overtly physically disabled that need help from the system. (That is the sort of emotional pressure which can eventually change the rules governing this sort of benefit.)
In my opinion, there should be no doubt that people with ileostomies and a need to access toilets quickly, should be allocated the 'disabled drivers’ badges.
I also believe that ‘someone’ should sit down and write a draft application, outlining all the reasons why this is an essential ‘practical, social/psychological and emotional ‘aid’ for daily living for people with an uncontrolled stoma (or incontinence) problem. Such a ‘draft’ document would give all applicants an idea of what they should be portraying to the decision makers.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of having an independent advocate for this sort of application. If the applicant has a social worker, then they are often the best advocates. Sometimes the Citizen’s Advice Bureau can help with this in the first instance. On occasions, I have involved local councillors to advocate on behalf of people who need help from social services. It is best to find those who are already in positions of influence such as being on the social services committees.
Having said that. Research has shown that any articulate advocate can have a positive effect on outcomes regarding access to welfare benefits (especially in the case of appeals). So, if you have a friend or relative who has the ‘gift of the gab’ and a dogged determination to see fair-play, then get them to help you make the application and accompany you to any interviews.
I tend to have a very cynical perspective on the welfare system at times when finance influences decisions rather than the welfare of the people concerned. However, hope you find my comments helpful.