How does it work?
Your local authority is in control of Blue Badges, so you have to meet their criteria in order to be awarded one. Only those on the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are automatically eligible, while other people have to undergo further assessment to determine their eligibility.
Having a Blue Badge often means that you can park:
- on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, unless there is a ban on loading or unloading
- at 'on-street' parking meters and pay-and-display machines for free and for as long as you need to
- in disabled parking bays.
Please note: the parking rules for Blue Badge holders are not the same for every area, so make sure you check with your local authority and that of the area you are visiting.
What criteria do I need to meet?
To be eligible for a Blue Badge, you have to be deemed to have a disability that causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking. You automatically qualify for a Blue Badge if you are over two years old and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- you receive the Higher Rate of the Mobility Component of the DLA, or
- you receive a War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement or
- you are registered as blind.
If you do not meet these criteria but do have considerable difficulty in walking, a medical condition that means you must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment, or if you lack the ability to work a parking meter owing to a disability in both of your arms, you may still be eligible for a Blue Badge.
You will, however, need to be assessed by your local authority, which means that they may ask you to attend a mobility assessment.
What can I do to strengthen my application?
Have the right documentation to support your application. Inform assessors that you have a muscle-wasting condition and describe how it affects you. Emphasise that your ability to do things varies on different days, and use your worst day as an example.
In order to qualify, you must show your assessor that:
- you are unable to walk, or
- you have a physical disability that means you cannot walk very far without experiencing severe discomfort, or
- the physical effort needed to walk could damage your health.
Your mobility may need to be assessed by a medical professional, such as an occupational therapist.
What can I do if my application is refused?
If your local authority refuses your application, they are obliged to give you a reason why. If you do not think that they have adequately assessed your needs, or have overlooked important information, you can ask them to re-consider your case. You can also re-apply if you feel that your mobility problems have become more serious since a previous assessment.