If you have a disability, you may be able to get a Blue Badge, which lets you use certain parking spaces without having to pay.
Here, we explain who can get a Blue Badge and where you can park for free.
What is a Blue Badge?
The Blue Badge is a permit that allows you to park in certain parking spaces for free.
It means you can park in designated disabled parking spaces, or on yellow lines for up to three hours, if there isn’t a ban on loading. You can also park by parking meters for as long as you want without having to pay for a ticket.
However, some areas such as central London have slightly different local rules, so make sure to double check.
If you are parking in a space with a time limit, you will also need to display a parking clock to show what time you arrived. This should come with your Blue Badge and you simply set it to the current time whenever you park somewhere.
Make sure when you park that your Blue Badge and parking clock are both fully visible through the windshield so that you don’t get fined.
The person with the illness or disability doesn’t have to drive the car for the Blue Badge to be valid. However, they do need to be in the car at the time.
Who’s eligible for a Blue Badge?
You can apply for a Blue Badge if you’re disabled and it affects your mobility. You don’t have to have a physical disability. You might, for example, struggle severely to plan or follow a journey, or are frequently extremely anxious. You can also apply for a Blue Badge if you have a child with a disability.
If you receive certain benefits or have certain disabilities, you’re automatically entitled to get a Blue Badge. You are entitled to a Blue Badge if you:
- Are registered blind
- Receive the higher mobility element of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Have a score of eight or above in the ‘moving around’ part of your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment. You’ll need to provide your decision letter – and it must have been issued within the last 12 months
- Get a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement payment (at tariffs one to eight). You get this if you are unable to walk or find it hard to walk because of your disability
- Receive the mobility element of PIP and have 10 points for descriptor E under ‘planning and following journeys’
If you are not blind or don’t receive these benefits, you can still apply for a Blue Badge. In Scotland, you’re eligible for one if you have condition like dementia, autism, a mental illness or a learning disability.
You can read the full list of criteria for a Blue Badge at GOV.uk.
What is the walking criteria for a Blue Badge?
According to GOV.uk, you may be eligible for a Blue Badge if you cannot walk at all, can only walk with help from someone else or a mobility aid, find it very difficult to walk, or if walking is dangerous to your health and safety.
If you receive the Personal Independent Payment (PIP), you must have scored 8 or less in the ‘moving around’ part of the assessment – meaning you can’t walk more than 50 metres – to qualify.
How do I apply for a Blue Badge?
Your application will then be sent to your local council and they will make a decision within 12 weeks.
This is what you need in order to apply:
- A recent digital photo showing your head and shoulders, plus
- A photo or scan of your proof of identity (such as a passport or driving licence)
- A photo or scan of your proof of address (less than 12 months old)
- A photo or scan of your proof of benefits (if you get any)
You’ll also need to know:
- your National Insurance number (if you have one)
- the details of your current Blue Badge (if you’re reapplying).
If you’re turned down for a Blue Badge, your council should tell you why. You can appeal against the decision and you can apply again if your disability or illness gets worse.
A Blue Badge is valid for three years, unless you are claiming due to a benefit which you have stopped receiving, in which case it will become invalid. If you wish to retain your permit after three years, you can apply to renew it.
How much does the Blue Badge cost?
In England and Northern Ireland, the most councils can charge for a Blue Badge is £10. It’s free in Wales and in Scotland the cost is capped at £20.
I have a Blue Badge; what else can I claim?
If you own a Blue Badge or have a disability, you may also be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty, more commonly known as road tax.
You can claim this exemption if you get the:
- Higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of the Adult Disability Payment (ADP)
- Higher rate mobility component of Child Disability Payment
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
The vehicle must be registered in your name or your nominated driver’s name in order to qualify, and must be used only for your personal needs.
You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the standard rate mobility component for PIP or ADP.
You can read about how to claim the exemption or reduction at GOV.uk.
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