The Blue Badge scheme explained

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 an illness like dementia, autism, a mental illness or a learning disability.

How to apply for a Blue Badge

You can apply for a Blue Badge to your council directly or if you live in England, Wales or Scotland you can apply online at the Gov.uk website here. If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply online here.

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.

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. 

Do you have a Blue Badge and did you find it easy to apply for, or have you been turned down for one? We’d be interested in hearing from you. You can join the conversation on the Rest Less community or leave  a comment below.

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One thought on “The Blue Badge scheme explained

  1. Avatar
    Yvonne on Reply

    My husband has a blue badge as he has mnd and terminally ill
    .
    He is almost unable to walk But at the time it would have helped .
    It was near impossible to get one for him till we appealed and it took months .and now useless as he’s is so incapacitated and I can’t use it to run errands for him ! As I’m his main carer .
    Needs revision for sure

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