How does a blue badge work?
Those who are disabled or suffer from health conditions that limit their mobility can get a blue badge. It is linked to the individual, not a vehicle, so you can use it in any car you are in, whether you are the driver or a passenger. You may travel by taxi, hire car, or any other vehicle.
Disabled parking bays, pay and display parking bays, and parking meters are free for badge holders. It is also possible to park on some single and double yellow lines (where restrictions do not apply) for up to three hours. More information about parking restrictions can be found on the website of your local council.
If you regularly transport people eligible for a blue badge, you can apply for the badge for yourself, a child in your care with a mobility issue, or for your organization.
How do I get a blue badge?
The application process is slightly different depending on the specifics of the mobility issue.
If you are automatically eligible for a blue badge the application will be straightforward. If any of the below are relevant to you, you are automatically eligible :
- You are registered blind
- You have the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance (this will be stated on your decision letter)
- If you receive War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- You received tariffs 1 to 8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and were certified as having a permanent and substantial disability
When you receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP) you are automatically eligible for a badge if you meet certain scores on your assessment:
- If you scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area
- If you scored 10 points in the ‘planning and following journeys’ area and were put in category ‘E’. This means that your stress, anxiety, or other mental health issue stops you from leaving the house
You can check your decision letter if you need clarification
Other eligibility requirements
Even if you are not automatically eligible, you can apply and provide additional details on the mobility condition you need assistance with. Examples include:
- Long-term difficulty walking or moving around (including problems caused by mental health conditions such as anxiety or stress)
- If you are applying for a child over 2 who has difficulty walking, or a child under 3 who needs to be near a vehicle as a result of a health condition
- You have difficulty using both arms at the same time
Problems walking or going places
The problem you are experiencing should be a result of a severe and permanent disability. You will be asked to explain this in as much detail as possible.
It is important to estimate how far you can walk without support before you start to feel pain or need a rest. This can be counted in distance or number of steps.
It is important to include how long it takes you to walk this distance, how you walk, and how this makes you feel.
Children who need to be close to the vehicle
In the application, you will be asked why the child needs to be close to the vehicle.
Please describe the requirements as fully as possible, including how often you need the equipment, and how quickly or frequently you need to get to the hospital.
Would you like to apply on your child’s behalf? Check out Kidz to Adultz for the latest advice and information
Disability that is non-visible or hidden
Problems walking or being close to the vehicle could be due to a physical or non-visible (hidden) disability.
Anyone with a disability that causes difficulty or distress while walking as part of a journey is eligible for a blue badge, not just those who experience the difficulty as a direct result of walking.
Local authorities will ask for advice from healthcare professionals, such as gastroenterologists if an individual has a disability such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease that might make traveling difficult.
In laying out the guidelines for eligibility, the department for transport considered these professions and will consult them when local authorities determine applicants’ eligibility for a blue badge.
If you’re having problems with your bladder or bowels, you can find useful resources and our confidential helpline here
You have arm problems
Also eligible for a blue badge are those with issues relating to their arms. But only if they are drivers.
If you apply for a blue badge on these grounds, you will be asked to describe the severe problems you experience in both arms. The reason you need to drive regularly or why you cannot use parking meters or machines must be explained.
What do I need to apply?
A completed application form is required, as well as:
- Photo of passport size
- Disability documentation
- An identification document
- Address Proof
You can find more information on what is accepted on the government website.
In England it costs up to £10, in Scotland, it costs up to £20, and in Wales it is free.
Once you have applied
Your application may take up to six to eight weeks to be processed. You should contact your local council if you haven’t heard back after this period.
You may be required to complete a mobility assessment as part of the application process. During this assessment, a health care professional will monitor your mobility activities. If you are eligible for the badge, the professional will report back to the council.
Your council can reconsider your application if it is denied. Your decision letter will include information on how to request this.
Typically, the badge lasts for three years. In order to keep your old blue badge, you’ll need to renew it before it expires.