Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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CEA Card Discriminatory?

Why does my son have to BUY a CEA card each year to allow him to go to the cinema? Ablebodied people don't to so why does he? He already has a yellow disability card from our local council plus a blue badge etc. He is confined to an electric chair and needs a carer to access the cinema.
Is that not discriminatory?


  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Pioneering
    edited December 2015
  • ScopeHelplineScopeHelpline Member Posts: 210 Courageous
    Hi Lib,

    Does the cinema refuse to admit your son without a CEA card? If so that sounds a bit odd. Which cinema is it, out of interest?

    -Scope helpline
  • LibLib Member Posts: 13 Listener
    It's Cineworld and no they haven't refused to admit him without a CEA card but he cannot book tickets online or over the phone without one. He has to physically go there with a carer. And therefore risk not being able to get a wheelchair space with a carers seat.
    Everyone else can book online or over the phone but not if you're disabled and don't have a CEA card.
    A CEA card costs £6 a year and you have to provide a passport photo too. How is a disabled person who is confined to a wheelchair expected to get into a passport photo booth? And why do disabled people have to pay £6 a year to access the cinema with a carer when ablebodied people don't?
  • ScopeHelplineScopeHelpline Member Posts: 210 Courageous
    Hi Lib,

    That's frustrating!

    To answer your original question; technically the only way to get an official 'decision' on whether something is discriminatory or not is in a court, from a judge, in a disability discrimination case that you/your son would have to bring against Cineworld (normally at your own expense). This is because the judge would need to decide if Cineworld had not taken 'reasonable steps' to avoid the disadvantage experienced by disabled customers compared with non-disabled customers. Check out Section 20 of the equality act, here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/20

    if you did want to pursue the matter legally you might find the law society website helpful, on the right hand side they have a search facility you can use to find a solicitor locally who has the right experience: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/

    I've checked on the CEA card website and it says 'passport-style' but they also ask you to upload it so I would imagine that a decent photo taken on a phone camera that clearly showed your son's face would suffice, although it's probably best to check with them directly.

    That's not to say that access to photo booths for wheelchair users is never a problem - it got raised as an issue in a big piece of research that Scope did with the Extra Costs Commission- and we have heard of some disabled persons' organisations offering passport photo services to wheelchair users. Sadly it's not a service that's consistently available in all areas of the country.

    Regarding the CEA card costs - again another typical example of an extra cost a disabled person faces that non-disabled people don't incur. It's things like that (which really add up!) that Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance are intended to cover. Does your son receive one of those benefits?

    It may be worth feeding back to Cineworld how your son is finding the bookings process quite limiting. I imagine that they request a CEA card for online bookings to make it more difficult for non-disabled people to sneak themselves a free cinema seat, but there is normally 'more than one way to skin a cat' - I have heard of some theatres for example, accepting a proof of entitlement to a disability benefit letter as sufficient 'proof' of disability and entitlement to a carer's seat.

    Hope this is useful. Do get in touch again if you have any other questions.

    Kind Regards,


    Scope helpline
    0808 800 3333
    [email protected]

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