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Applying for a Blue Badge

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you're disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge. 

You can also apply for a badge if you care for a child with a health condition. 

If you get certain benefits you'll automatically be able to get a Blue Badge. The application will be straightforward. 

It's still worth applying if you're not automatically eligible, but you'll need to have very severe problems moving your legs or arms. The application will be more complicated, because you'll have to describe your mobility problems in a lot of detail. 

You don't need to be able to drive to apply for a Blue Badge, unless you're applying because of problems with your arms. 

Follow the advice on this page to renew your Blue Badge, too.  You can't normally use an expired badge, so make sure you apply for a new one as early as possible. 

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.

Who can get a Blue Badge

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.  

Documents you need

Before you apply, make sure you have:

  • your National Insurance number
  • the number and expiry date on your current blue badge, if you have one 

You’ll also need:

  • your original decision letter or annual uprating letter from the Department for Communities - if you're automatically eligible for a badge, or supporting medical evidence. You can find details of the evidence needed in the guidance notes
  • a recent colour passport-type photograph of the person the badge is for, signed on the back

Send copies of your documents rather than originals, in case your application gets lost in the post.

How to apply 

You can request a paper form or apply online on nidirect .

If you're automatically eligible, the application is straightforward. 

If you're not automatically eligible you'll need to fill in an extra part of the application form to explain why you need a badge and you’ll need to supply evidence.  Use the advice below to help you fill in the section that applies to you.  

If you have a terminal illness

You can download a form or ask for a paper form directly from the Blue Badge Unit - tell them you're terminally ill when you call. Or you can apply online. You don’t need to answer all the questions on the form. You application will be fast-tracked.

If you or a child you care for has problems walking 

If you’re applying on behalf of a child 3 or over who has problems walking, fill in this section for them. 

You should describe your condition in as much detail as you can.

Try to estimate how far you can walk without help. If you’re not sure, think about how many parked buses you could walk past before you'd start to feel pain or need a rest. One bus is about 11 metres long - so if you can only walk past half a bus, you can only walk about 5 metres. Write this on your form.

If you can’t work out the distance, write down how many steps you can take without help instead.

Say how long it takes you to walk this distance, and how you walk - for example if you need to take small steps or shuffle.

Describe how walking makes you feel, for example if it causes you severe pain or makes you breathless, so that you have to sit down and rest.

You can't use your arms

It’s quite difficult to get a Blue Badge because of problems with your arms.

You can’t get a badge because of problems with your arms if you only travel as a passenger. 

You’ll need to:

  • have severe problems with both of your arms
  • explain why you need to drive regularly 
  • be unable to use a parking ticket machine or meter 

Describe the problems you have with both of your arms. You’ll need to explain why you’re unable to use a parking meter or ticket machine.

You’ll also need to explain why you need to drive a car regularly, for example for your job or to take your children to school.

Your child is under 3 and needs to be close to a vehicle

You'll need to explain that you have to be close to a vehicle to either:

  • transport medical equipment
  • get home or to a hospital quickly 

If you carry around bulky equipment because of your child’s condition, you should list it. For example, if your child needs ventilators, suction machines, feed pumps or oxygen administration equipment. 

Say how often this equipment is needed - for example every time you go out, or just some of the time.

If your child’s condition means they might need to go to hospital or home quickly, try to describe why in as much detail as you can. For example, you should explain if they have epilepsy or very unstable diabetes.

You will need to send in supporting evidence. You can find further details in the guidance notes.

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.

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