In some occasions, the you’ll automatically be issued with a Blue Badge if you receive a mobility allowance. Having a Blue Badge if you are a disabled driver can open you up to a wide range of opportunities. An example of this is that it enables you to park nearer your destination even if you’re not the driver of the vehicle. Usually, your badge will be issued by your local council for £10 and last for three years. However, in an instance that your mobility allowance comes to an end before the three-year period ends, your Blue Badge will coincide with this. Alongside Blue Badges, mobility allowance can also be a good way to find yourself perfect Motability deals.
There are a host of rights and responsibilities you must be aware of if you are the owner of a Blue Badge. Here, alongside Lookers, who provide a variety of car servicing plans, we will run through all the necessary information to make sure you’re in the know:
Do I qualify for a Blue Badge?
You must be over two years old to qualify and there are five reasons which will allow you to qualify automatically:
- You receive a War Pensioner’s Mobility supplement
- You have been given a sum by the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme and have been registered with a substantial and permanent disability
- You receive a higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- You get a Personal Independence Payment which shows an eligible descriptor of the ‘moving around’ activity of the mobility component
- You are registered blind
You may also qualify for a Blue Badge however if you:
- Have a terminal illness which interferes with your ability to walk and has led to you being issued with a DS1500
- Have a substantial or permanent disability that means you can’t, or it’s very difficult to walk
- Regularly drive a vehicle and have severe disabilities with your arms
How can I apply for a Blue Badge?
You will need to provide an up-to-date photo, proof of identification, proof of address and, if you’re automatically eligible, your original decision letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). It’s also important to have your National Insurance number to hand if you’re applying for yourself, or a child reference number if the application is for an infant. If you already have a driving licence, you’ll be required to provide your details alongside the number, local council and expiry date on your current Blue Badge — if you own one.
If you don’t automatically qualify, you’ll need to fill in an additional section on the form. You should hear back from your council within six to eight weeks and you may be asked to do a mobility assessment or to send extra information before you are granted with the badge. If for whatever reason you are refused, you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered. To apply when you’re automatically eligible is straightforward and you can fill in the form online, or by contacting your local council.
Where am I able to use my Blue Badge?
If you hold a Blue Badge, you are allowed to park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours if you aren’t blocking any loading or unloading areas. It’s vital that you display your blue parking clock for any wardens to see what time you arrived.
However, it’s important to remember that being the owner of a Blue Badge doesn’t give you free reign on where you can park. Similarly, if you’re not the driver, you must make sure whoever is behind the wheel also knows this. It is only intended for on-street parking, with off-street car parks such as supermarkets spaces being governed by separate rules. You must make sure you do not park anywhere which could cause an obstruction or be a danger to other road users. Doing so may result in a Penalty Charge Notice being handed out, or worse yet your vehicle may be removed.
Make sure you check with any off-street car park establishments on their status and never assume you can park for free. Doing so may result in a nasty surprise. When it comes to parking in a zone which is covered by parking meters and pay-and-display machines, your badge allows you to park free of charge for as long as is required. This also goes for disabled parking bays, unless it states otherwise.
If you’re intending to travel outside of England, but still within the UK, make sure you check what the country’s concessions are. The same goes for travelling in London — check with Transport for London for further information. This is due to the fact the scheme doesn’t fully apply in the City of London, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and part of the London Borough of Camden.
Who can use my badge?
If you’re not in the car, no one else is allowed to use your badge – even if they are visiting you. Also, although it’s not illegal to do so, you shouldn’t sit in the car while someone else takes advantage of the badge’s benefits.
Simply put, if you’re in the vehicle, either as the driver or a passenger, anyone is able to use it. However, misuse is illegal. If the badge is used without you in attendance, the user could be fined up to £1,000 and the badge may be confiscated. If you are a passenger, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the driver is aware of any rules laid out.
Is there a correct way to display my badge?
You should display your badge on the dashboard or facia panel of your vehicle so it’s easily read through your front windscreen. Your photograph should not be visible, however, and you should ensure that all details remain legible. It’s your responsibility to make sure the badge is visible to any traffic warden that may pass your vehicle.
Is it possible to use the badge abroad?
At present, there isn’t an arrangement in place that would enable you to use your badge outside of the EU in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is possible however to use your badge if you’re travelling to certain locations abroad as it’s recognised throughout the European Union (EU). However, it must be noted that the concessions provided may not be the same as those in the UK.
How do I reapply for my badge?
You can renew your badge online. You will also receive a letter from the Blue Badge Improvement Service to remind you it’s time to renew. It’s recommended to reapply for your badge well before its expiry date; if it expires, you may be fined if you continue to use it.
While the above highlights that the Blue Badge is an extremely useful tool to help you continue your everyday life, make sure you take note of where you can and can’t use it to make sure you aren’t stung be any unwanted fines!