A Blue Badge is a special parking permit that helps people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. It can also help you avoid certain parking restrictions and charges. If you or someone you care for has mobility problems, you may be eligible for a Blue Badge. Here is a guide on how to apply for one in the UK.
Who can get a Blue Badge?
There are two ways to qualify for a Blue Badge: automatically or by assessment.
You automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if you are three or over and at least one of the following applies.
- You receive a higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
- You receive a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) because you can’t walk more than 50 metres (a score of 8 points or more under the ‘moving around’ activity of the mobility component).
- You are registered blind (severely sight impaired).
- You receive a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.
- You have received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1 to 8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability that causes an inability to walk or considerable difficulty walking.
- You received the mobility component of PIP and have obtained 10 points specifically for descriptor E under the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity. You cannot undertake any journey because it would cause you overwhelming psychological distress.
If you meet any of these criteria, you do not need to provide any further evidence of your eligibility. However, you will still need to provide personal details and documents as part of your application.
Eligibility by assessment
You may be eligible for a Blue Badge by assessment if one or more of the following applies:
- You cannot walk at all.
- You cannot walk without help from someone else or using mobility aids.
- You find walking very difficult due to pain, breathlessness, or the time it takes.
- Walking is dangerous to your health and safety.
- You have a terminal illness, so you cannot walk or find walking difficult, and you have a DS1500 form.
- You have a severe disability in both arms and drive regularly but cannot operate pay-and-display parking machines.
- You have a child under 3 with a medical condition, so the child must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment.
- You have a child under 3 with a medical condition, so the child must always be kept near a vehicle in case they need emergency medical treatment.
- You are constantly a significant risk to yourself or others near vehicles, in traffic or car parks.
You must provide evidence demonstrating your eligibility if you fall into these categories. This may include medical reports, letters from your doctor or other professionals, or details of any benefits you receive. Your local council may also arrange an appointment to visit you or ask you to attend an assessment centre. They will use this information to decide whether you qualify for a Blue Badge.
How to apply for a Blue Badge
You can apply for or renew your Blue Badge online at GOV.UK. Some councils also allow paper applications, so it’s best to check with your local council. You will need a recent digital passport photo, proof of identity, proof of address, evidence of any benefits you’re receiving, and your National Insurance number or child reference number if you’re applying for a child. It’s important to note that you must apply through your local council, and your doctor cannot help you get a Blue Badge. If you are reapplying, you will need the number, expiry date, and local council on your current Blue Badge.
You can apply for yourself, someone else or an organisation that transports people that need a Blue Badge. The online application process is straightforward; you can save and return your application later if required. The application fee varies depending on where you live, and it costs up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland and free in Wales.
Blue Badges usually last up to 3 years, and you must reapply for a Blue Badge before your current one expires.
What happens next?
Your local council will usually decide within 12 weeks. They will contact you by email or post to let you know if your application has succeeded. If your application is approved, they will send you your Blue Badge and a guide on using it. If your application is refused, they will tell you why and how you can appeal the decision.
What to do if your Blue Badge application is refused
If your application is refused, your local council should tell you why. You can ask them to reconsider your case if only some critical information is considered. You can write a letter to the address on the decision letter explaining why you disagree with the reasons listed and providing any additional evidence you have.
You can get help writing your letter from your nearest Citizens Advice.
If your local council refuses to review their decision, or if you are unhappy with how your application has been handled, you can complain to them. All councils have slightly different complaints processes – you can find out who to contact on their website.
If you are dissatisfied with your complaint response, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. They are an independent organisation investigating complaints about councils and other public bodies. You can phone them on 0300 061 0614 or visit their website at www.lgo.org.uk.
If your mobility problems worsen, you can reapply for a Blue Badge anytime. You must provide new evidence of your eligibility and pay the application fee again.
A Blue Badge can significantly affect your quality of life and independence. It can help you park closer to where you need to go and avoid some parking charges and restrictions. To apply for a Blue Badge, you need to meet specific eligibility criteria and provide some personal details and documents.
You can apply online or by paper form through your local council. They will assess your application and let you know the outcome within 12 weeks. If your application is refused, you can appeal the decision and request a review. You can also complain or contact the ombudsman if you are unhappy with how your application was dealt with. You can reapply for a Blue Badge if your condition worsens or your current one expires.
I hope this article has been helpful and informative. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or feedback. Thank you for reading!