Blue Badge Scheme: Everything you need to know

For those who are living with mobility restrictions, simple trips such as visiting the doctors or local shops can prove to be a real challenge and stressful process. Having a Blue Badge can enable you to live more independently, enjoy greater freedom and ultimately, live the life you want.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the Blue Badge Scheme, including how to apply for your own Blue Badge.

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What is the Blue Badge Scheme?

The Blue Badge Scheme is a UK-wide initiative that provides a range of parking concessions for people with mobility impairments and other disabilities. It helps make travelling easier as it provides the option to park closer to entrances, with enough space for disabled access in and out of the vehicle. Local authorities manage the Scheme in line with Department for Transport’s regulations.

Please contact your local council for more information on the Blue Badge application.

Who is eligible for the Blue Badge scheme?

If you are living with a disability or health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge. You don’t have to be able to drive to qualify for the Scheme. You can also apply if you care for a child with a mobility-related health condition. If you are registered blind or receive the following benefits, you will automatically qualify for a Blue Badge:

  • The higher level of the mobility element of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
  • A one-off payment from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and a significant and permanent disability

If you receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP), you may also be automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:

  • Score 8 points or more in the moving around part of the assessment
  • Score 10 points for “planning and following journeys” and are in category E (your anxiety, stress, or other mental health problems stop you from leaving the house)

Even if you don’t automatically qualify for the Scheme, you could still qualify for a Blue Badge if you are:

  • Cannot walk unaided
  • Diagnosed with a terminal illness and are unable to walk or struggle to walk and have a DS1500 form
  • Caring for a child aged three or under with a diagnosed medical condition that requires they have large medical equipment with them all the time
  • Regularly experience overwhelming responses to situations resulting in a momentary loss of behaviour control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the benefits of the Blue Badge Scheme?

A Blue Badge provides several benefits, including access to:

  • Disabled parking bays situated close to destinations
  • Free on-street parking
  • Reduced rate or free parking in some council-run car parks and private car parks
  • Additional concessions and discounts via local authorities
  • You may be eligible to be exempt from paying road tax
  • You are entitled to free or discounted public transport
  • Blue Badge holders have priority seating on trains and buses
  • You can get free or discounted entry at some attractions.

 

A Blue Badge can be especially beneficial for drivers of large mobility vehicles such as the Renault Trafic or Volkswagen Transporter. These vehicles are typically larger than standard cars and require more space to park and load passengers, especially if the vehicle has a ramp or lift for wheelchair access.

With a Blue Badge, you can access designated disabled parking bays that are typically wider and closer to your destination. This can make it much easier to park and load or unload passengers, particularly in busy areas where parking spaces are limited.

Blue Badge holders are also entitled to park longer than other drivers, which can be especially useful when attending appointments or events that may last several hours.

You can also use the Blue Badge Parking app to help you find Blue Badge disabled parking bays at your destination.

How to apply for the Blue Badge scheme?

You can apply for a Blue Badge on the government’s website or through your local council. If you’re applying online, you must create an account, complete the application, and have the supporting documents with you ready to upload.

You’ll also need to provide details of your health condition or disability (if you don’t automatically meet the requirements for a Blue Badge) and why you need a Blue Badge:

You have problems walking

You must demonstrate that a long-term and substantial disability causes you to have problems walking. You’ll be required to give as much information about your condition as possible, such as the distance you can walk unaided. In your application, explain how long it takes to walk this distance and whether you typically take small steps or shuffle. You should also try to describe how walking makes you feel; for instance, do you get breathless or experience severe pain?

Problems using your arms

If you experience problems with using your arms, getting approved for a Blue Badge may be difficult, especially if you only travel as a passenger. To be eligible for a Blue Badge, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have severe problems with both of your arms and using parking meters or ticket machines. You’ll also need to explain why you need to drive regularly.

Your child is under three and must stay close to a vehicle

You’ll need to explain in your application that your child must be close to a vehicle to quickly get to the hospital or home or to transport medical equipment. List any large equipment you must carry for your child’s condition, such as feed pumps, suction machines, ventilators or oxygen cylinders. It would help if you also mentioned how often this equipment is required.

 

You have a terminal illness

Councils usually fast-track Blue Badge applications for people with terminal illnesses. You’ll need to provide a copy of the form (DS1500) that confirms your terminal illness, which you can get from your consultant or doctor.

 

 

What documentation do you need to apply for a Blue Badge?

To apply for a Blue Badge, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity and address, your national insurance number if you have one, a recent head and shoulders digital photo and your contact details. If you’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge, you must provide a copy of your original decision letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

To prove your identity, you’ll need to provide a copy of one of the following:

  • Passport
  • Birth or adoption certificate
  • Driving licence
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Divorce or dissolution certificate.

To prove your address, you’ll need to submit a copy of either:

  • Driving licence
  • A recent council tax bill
  • A recent letter from a local authority or government department
  • A recent letter from a school (if the applicant is under 16).

What happens after you apply for a Blue Badge?

Blue Badge applications can take up to 12 weeks to process, depending on whether you need to provide more information or undertake a mobility assessment. A health professional will review your mobility and let the council know whether your disability or health condition limits your mobility enough for you to need a Blue Badge.

If your Blue Badge application is declined, the decision letter will explain how you can ask for a review of the decision.

Do I need to tell DVLA if I have a Blue Badge?

Blue Badge applications can take up to 12 weeks to process, depending on whether you need to provide more information or undertake a mobility assessment. A health professional will review your mobility and let the council know whether your disability or health condition limits your mobility enough for you to need a Blue Badge.

If your Blue Badge application is declined, the decision letter will explain how you can ask for a review of the decision.

Is there a cost to join the Scheme?

Councils can set their own fees for a Blue Badge, up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland. However, there’s no charge for a Blue Badge in Wales. Some local authorities offer discounts or exemptions depending on income or personal circumstances.

How long does the Scheme last?

Blue Badge applications can take up to 12 weeks to process, depending on whether you need to provide more information or undertake a mobility assessment. A health professional will review your mobility and let the council know whether your disability or health condition limits your mobility enough for you to need a Blue Badge.

If your Blue Badge application is declined, the decision letter will explain how you can ask for a review of the decision.

Who can use your Blue Badge?

Your Blue Badge is for your use only to be used in any vehicle you are the driver or passenger of. The Badge can also be used by someone collecting or dropping you off and needs to park where you are picked up or dropped off. You must never give it to friends or family to use, even if they are visiting you.

You mustn’t use your Badge if you are just waiting in a vehicle and don’t intend to get out of it. The misuse of a Blue Badge is considered a criminal offence and can result in a fine of up to £1,000.

How to use a Blue Badge?

We’ve laid out some guidelines below – but don’t worry if you’re still unsure, your blue badge will come with an instruction book to help guide you through the process;

  • Display the Blue Badge clearly on the dashboard or windscreen of your vehicle before you park in a disabled parking space
  • Check the parking sign to ensure you can park in the space with your Blue Badge
  • If parking on-street, make sure the Badge and clock (if required) are displayed and set the time on the clock to show when you arrived
  • When parking in a time-limited space, display the Blue Badge and set the time on the clock to show when you arrived You can park for up to 3 hours on single or double yellow lines unless there’s a sign that indicates otherwise
  • Always remove the Blue Badge from your dashboard when it’s not in use.

The Blue Badge scheme is a crucial resource for people with disabilities or mobility impairments. It provides easier access to services and facilities and helps them maintain their independence and quality of life. To learn more about the Blue Badge Scheme and how to apply, visit Citizens Advice for further details.

GowringsVersa Mobility has a great selection of new, nearly new and used mobility vehicles. To learn more about our available vehicles, contact us online or at 0345 608 8020.

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