One of our service users, Sue, drew our attention to the Access Card. For those old enough to remember them, this is not a sort of bank card. Access Cards are issued by a social enterprise company called Nimbus which was set up by disabled people in 2006. Any profits that Nimbus makes are donated to charity. Nimbus also runs a quality assurance scheme for other organisations, helping them make sure that disabled people can access the services they provide. This is called CredAbility. So Access Cards are sometimes known as Nimbus Cards or CredAbility Cards.
Who can apply?
If you have been awarded Personal Independence Payments or Attendance Allowance at the higher rate you can apply for an Access Card. You can also use your Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit award letter to apply, particularly if it shows that you have a high level of disability.
What can you do with an Access Card?
Other people often have a very limited understanding of what it means to be disabled. They may expect you to have a white stick, to be in a wheelchair or unable to hear. If you show your Access Card to them when you need special help accessing the service they provide it will help them to understand that you have a disability even if it’s not immediately obvious to them.
Other benefits of the Access Card
Once service providers understand that you have a disability they must try to make reasonable adjustments to help you access their services. One way this can happen is for service providers to allow a companion to accompany you, to offer any assistance you might need. Sue says that she has used her Access Card to get free tickets for her companion and accessible seats when they go together to concerts and other special events put on by venues which belong to the CredAbility Scheme. She has already benefitted to the tune of several hundred pounds in a few months.
It’s not free
Although Nimbus is non-profitmaking it still has to cover its costs. The Access Card is £15, but it is valid for three years.
Find out more here