Q. I am 74 years old and I have problems walking. My friends have told me I should get a Blue Badge, would I qualify for this?
If you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge.
A Blue Badge means you can park in places other drivers can’t, for example parking spaces for Blue Badge holders or being able to park in ‘on street’ parking areas for an unlimited time (unless signs say otherwise).
The Blue Badge is linked to you rather than a vehicle, so you can use it with any car. This includes taxis and hire cars that you’re driving, or travelling in as a passenger.
When you get your Blue Badge, you should be given a leaflet explaining how to use it.
Who can get a Blue Badge
If you get certain benefits you’ll automatically be able to get a Blue Badge. The application will be straightforward.
You’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:
*are registered as blind
*get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
*get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of your assessment - check your decision letter if you’re not sure
*get War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
*received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation scheme (tariffs 1 to 8), and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability
If you’re not automatically eligible
You might still be able to get a badge. You’ll have to fill in an extra part of the application to show why you need one.
You should do this if:
*you have problems walking that are permanent, or that your doctor says are likely to last at least a year
*you can’t use your arms
*you’re applying on behalf of a child aged 3 or over who has problems walking, or a child under 3 who needs to be close to a vehicle because of a health condition
The application is more complicated if you’re not automatically eligible.
It’s worth getting help from an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice to fill in the form properly.
How to apply
You can request a paper form or apply online on the nidirect website.
Applications are also available by contacting the Blue Badge Unit on 0300 200 7818.
Don’t apply for a Blue Badge from anywhere other than the Blue Badge Unit in the Department for Infrastructure or nidirect.
No one else can provide a genuine Blue Badge - if you think you’ve been scammed, you should report it.
You must send one recent photograph which you should sign on the back with the application along with a £10 fee.
If you are in receipt of one of the prescribed benefits you must provide the appropriate certificate, letter of award or letter of entitlement.
If you are applying on discretionary grounds you must provide supporting medical evidence.
What happens after you’ve applied
You should hear back within 6 to 8 weeks.
If you have a terminal illness the Blue Badge Unit will deal with your application on the day they receive it.
If the Unit needs to contact your doctor for information to support your application, they will tell you and the decision may take longer.
If you’re refused a Blue Badge, you can ask the Unit to reconsider their decision.
You’ll need to renew your badge after 3 years, or when you stop receiving the benefit your badge is linked to - for example DLA or PIP.
You must give your Blue Badge back to the Blue Badge Unit if you no longer need it, for example if your condition improves.
You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t.
For further advice get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.co.uk or for further information go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland/