For a disabled driver, a Blue Badge can be incredibly useful. With it, you can park closer to destinations if you are the driver or passenger in the car, and three years cover costs only £10 from your local council. If you receive a mobility allowance, you could be automatically eligible — but you do still need to apply to receive the badge. Plus, if your allowance ends prior to the three-year period of your Blue Badge, the Blue Badge will end at the same time as your allowance.

Find out everything you need to know about the Blue Badge with this handy guide from car dealers, Lookers Group:
How do I qualify for a Blue Badge?
There are five points that mean you could be automatically eligible:
• You are registered blind
• 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 may also be eligible if you:
• Regularly drive a vehicle and have severe disabilities with your arms
• 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

Where do I apply for a Blue Badge?
You’ll need a few things to hand before you apply. It’s important to have your National Insurance number 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.
You will also need an up-to-date photograph of the badge holder, proof of address, identification, and if you were automatically eligible, you’ll need your Department of Work and Pensions decision letter. To apply when you’re automatically eligible is straightforward and you can fill in the form online, or by contacting your local council. If you’re not automatically eligible, you’ll be required 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.

Can other people use my badge?
If you’re in the car as a driver or passenger, your Blue Badge can be used. 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. You must never give your badge to your family or friends to entitle them to free parking – 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.
Where am I allowed to use my Blue Badge?
A Blue Badge doesn’t mean you can park anywhere at all. 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.
Assuming you’re not blocking any loading or unloading areas, you can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours with a Blue Badge. It’s vital that you display your blue parking clock for any wardens to see what time you arrived. 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. Be sure to check with any off-street car park establishments what their status is — never assume you can just park for free or you may receive a nasty surprise.
If you’re travelling outside of England, but within the UK, be sure to check what that country’s regulations are regarding Blue Badge holders. 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.
Can I use my Blue Badge abroad?
Currently, you can. It’s possible 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.
There are no arrangements for the Blue Badge to be used outside of the EU, however.
Is there a certain way I need to display my Blue Badge?
You must make sure the badge is visible for any passing traffic warden. The best way to do this is by placing it on the dashboard or facia panel so that it can be read through your front windscreen. Your photograph should not be visible, however, and you should ensure that all details remain legible.
How do I reapply for my Blue Badge?
To avoid any fines, reapply for your Blue Badge well before it’s expiry date. It’s possible to renew online and you will also receive a letter from the Blue Badge Improvement Service to remind you it’s time to renew.

And that’s everything! The Blue Badge is a great tool to help you continue your everyday life but be sure to take note of where you can and can’t use it to make sure you aren’t stung be any unwanted fines!

Author's Bio: 

Jamie Roberts is a copywriter who specialises in sports and lifestyle. He achieved a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism and has worked across the world in the industry.