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How to apply for a blue badge for a person with dementia

You can now apply online for a blue badge. This article explains the criteria for people with dementia and how to fill out an application for yourself or a loved one.

Are people with dementia eligible for a blue badge?

Blue badges are for people with severe mobility problems who need to park close to where they are going. This can apply to many people living with dementia, which can affect balance, co-ordination and spatial awareness. 

However the focus on mobility and walking means that many people with dementia who apply for a blue badge are turned down.

In 2018 the government announced that the scheme would be extended to people with hidden disabilities including people with dementia.  In August 2019 local authorities will implement new guidance issued by government on how to apply the new guidelines. 

Local authorities will continue to administer the Blue Badge Scheme and make the decision on whether a person meets the eligibility criteria for a Blue Badge.

How can I apply for a Blue Badge?

In January 2019 the government introduced a way to apply online  for a Blue Badge, whether it’s for yourself or for somebody else.  Your local council will be responsible for making the decision about whether you get a badge or not. 

Some councils use a different online or paper form. The online gov.uk form will direct you to the right place if this is the case.

Who can automatically get a Blue Badge?

There are some criteria that mean you are definitely entitled to a blue badge. Blue badges are automatically given to people who:

  • 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 the assessment.
  • 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 meet one or more of these criteria, you must still fill out the form to receive the badge. 

If you or your loved one don’t meet any of these criteria, you can still apply for an assessment, to see if you are eligible for a badge.

Tips for applying for your blue badge online:

Get your documentation together

You will need photos or scans of:

  • Proof of identity (passport, birth certificate, driving licence)
  • Proof of address (dated within the last 12 months – for example an electricity bill)
  • Any documents related to the person with dementia’s condition (for example diagnosis letters or any correspondence with medical professionals)
  • The person’s National Insurance number (if they have one)
  • Up to date contact details (phone number and email address)
  • A recent digital photo of the person 
  • If the person is receiving PIP (Personal Independence Payment) you need to send the full award letter including the points awarded for moving around.
  • The decision letter from the Department for Work and Pensions confirming eligibility for a blue badge (if you have one).

The photo of the person with dementia doesn’t need to be an official passport photo. You can take a photo with a smartphone as long as the lighting is good. You need to be able to see the face and shoulders of the person, against a plain light background. 

Gather information about the person and their diagnosis

The online form asks you for details of any medical appointments or treatments that the person with dementia has. You should include anything related to their dementia diagnosis, including surgeries, clinics or treatments, GP appointments, and other conditions they may have. 

You should also gather together information about medication and mobility aids. 

There’s a chance to add supporting documents as well. If you have a letter from a GP or other medical professional supporting the blue badge application, you should take a photo of this and upload it when asked.

Areas to look out for in the online form:

  • Choosing a reason for needing a badge

Question from the gov.uk online blue badge application form

You should select the option that best fits your situation. For example, if the person who needs the badge finds walking difficult, then you should tick the option ‘I have a permanent disability that means I can’t walk or I find walking very difficult.’ 

  • Describe your walking difficulties

    Question about walking difficulties from the gov.uk online blue badge application form

The form will ask you to tick different statements about your walking difficulties. You should select the most appropriate one for your situation.

  • Explaining the impact on your daily life

Question about walking problems from the gov.uk blue badge online application form

This is an important section where you can talk about how dementia affects the mobility of the person who needs the badge.  

Think about yourself or the person you are applying for on the worst day. Describe in detail how far you or they could walk and the difficulties they have. It can help to think about whether the person with dementia experiences any of the following:  

  • Challenges with depth perception and visuo-perceptual difficulties due to patterns, depths or uneven surfaces, which can lead to falls or trips. 

  • The person might not recognise road or safety signage. 

  • Walking slowly due to a lack of spatial awareness or being disorientated.  

  • The applicant might always need to be guided to go the right way so can never walk unaided. 

  • Getting in and out of the car can take time and be difficult, especially in narrow spaces. 

  • Slow processing skills and a lack of quick reaction to speed can be dangerous near roads. 

  • People with advanced dementia often have muscle weakness and mobility problems. 

 We recommend writing this section before you start the online form, and then copying and pasting it in when you get to the relevant section.

  • Walking difficulties 

Walking difficulties from the gov.uk blue badge online application form

You may then be asked to tick some of the difficulties that you, or the person with dementia, have when walking. You can select more than one option. If you select ‘Something else’ you can describe the particular issues that are related to the dementia diagnosis.

  • Walking distances

Finally the form will ask about distances that you or the person you are applying for can walk for. The form asks you to think of somewhere nearby that you or the person regularly walk to, and estimate how long this takes.

What happens after you've applied?

It can take a while for your council to process your application. You should get in touch with them if you haven’t heard back within 8 weeks.

They might ask the person with dementia to attend a mobility assessment

If they deny you a blue badge, you can write to the council to protest against the decision and ask them to reconsider.

What do I do if I receive a blue badge?

The badge belongs to the person with dementia. They can use it in any vehicle that they travel in, including taxis. It can’t be lent out to other people or used when the person isn’t in the vehicle. 

You can find out more about where you can park with a blue badge on the gov.uk website. 

We’d love to know about your experiences applying for a Blue Badge using this online form. Let us know in the comments below or email us at [email protected]. We can pass on your feedback to the Department of Transport.

Image at top of article is licensed under © Kolforn/ Wikimedia Commons / (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Apply online for a blue badge

Visit the gov.uk site and start applying for your blue badge.

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22 comments

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Thank you for this detailed information. Mum had a blue badge as she has arthritis. Trying to renew was met with frustrating bureaucracy and ignorance of how conditions affect the lives of people even though she now has dementia and arthritis doesn't improve as we age! Will try again. Thank you

We have been knocked back again. Mum 88, limited mobility post-stroke, greatly lacks confidence & always walks holding our hand when outside. Cannot walk far. Has Alzheimer's & absolutely cannot be left while I park elsewhere. Is thus limiting her horizons and our options when taking her out, e.g., no longer able to go shopping if spaces not near entrance. Council wanted her to travel to them to do mobility tests. While understanding their need to ensure the system is not abused, we said no, as this would cause unnecessary confusion. As with mental health, we are still not quite there in the UK when enabling access for those with so-called hidden disabilities.

My situation is exactly the same as above full PIP, neuro surgeon strong recommendation. The Bromley council still wants a mobility test for which we politely refused. But since then they are not even replying our emails or approved or even rejected. Really frustrating

I am mid application for getting a Blue Badge for my husband here in France. Parking spaces close to shop entrances are reseved for holders of the badge, Drivers with children, & Pregnant Women. Here the 'demented' appear to be a little forgotten. Are badges held back because in some places Parking would be free and there might be a loss of income? We dont mind paying but need the help to manage our loved ones.

I'm having trouble with an application for a blue badge for my Dad. He is being asked to go for an Occupation Therapy assessment. He would likely find this most distressing and my Mum is dreading taking him. She is already struggling to cope and this is a real blow. I am going to write to the Council and ask if a GP letter could replace the assessment.

the i time is coming for my husband but I have heard the problems people have had trying to get one and I have enough problems now without that. Surely if a Dr gave permission that us all you need.

My sister has had Alzheimers for almost 9 years. She had a blue badge after a hip operation but this was not renewed. I applied for one because of her dementia but it was refused, as was my appeal. In the meantime her carer got a fine for parking just slightly over the line in an Aberdeenshire car park ( so my sister could exit with the aid of her walking stick.) When her carer appealed to the attendant he just said,”She should have a blue badge!” We had to pay £40 fine but I’m in a catch 22 and feel very frustrated. Any advice would be appreciated.

Lorraine: I feel for you. Not to begrudge the ease of obtaining a badge for Registered Blind and Partially Sighted but I cannot see why we are so knocked back. My Dear One can see but does not know why he is going or where without an arm or hand - and we have to brave the disabled toilets as a couple.

My mum is 89 and has Alzheimers, she can not walk without relying on my arm - as her balance is not good and her lack of muscle tone in her legs means that they don't do what she's telling them and she stumbles a lot. To get to the cinema, which she loves, I have to drop her at the cinema and make her safe in the onsite Costa, then drive to a carpark, park, pay and run back to the cinema, or put her in the wheelchair at the carpark and push her up a huge hill! Her blue badge application was refused.

Very disappointed to learn today that Notts County Council are not issuing Blue Badges for disabled people with hidden, unseen disabilities, such as Alzheimers or Autism. It isn't council policy yet and yet my husband with Alzheimers was told last year, by a Working Age Dementia support worker, that he could re-apply for a Blue Badge in April '19. No such luck!!

Hi Kate, sorry to hear about the problems you've been having applying for a blue badge.

I'm afraid it's a complicated system and there has been a lot of mis-informaiton out there.

To clarify, after a consultation a year or two ago, the government has agreed to change the emphasis in the guidance so that people with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as dementia can be found eligible for a Blue Badge at assessment. However, the new guidance is still being produced (and Alzheimer’s Society is contributing to that). There is no real change in the rules at present, it is just emphasizing what assessors should consider anyway. There is no real reason why a local authority cannot implement these changes now.

Here is a summary on the consultation findings on Blue Badge eligibility which you may find useful: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blue-badge-disabled-parking-…

It may be worth enlisting the help of someone like Citizen’s Advice to help with your application or to make an appeal: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-…

Different local authorities have different approaches to appeals and there is no legal requirement for local authorities to have an appeals procedure. However, the guidance strongly recommends that local authorities establish an internal procedure to deal with appeals against a decision not to issue a badge

If there is no appeals mechanism then it is acceptable to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman that there isn’t one (as opposed to appealing against a decision) after taking it up with the local authority through their complaints process first: http://www.lgo.org.uk/

I'm sorry this is so difficult Kate, but hope this information is helpful for you.
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Alzheimer's Society blog team

Thank you for this. I am experiencing similar problems with South Tyneside Council and this advice is very helpful.

This is a really helpful blog but does anyone know what you do to establish the ID for a Blue Badge for someone who doesn't have a passport or a Drivers License? My brother has Young onset Alzheimer's and had his license revoked and his passport is expired. He needs a blue badge now as his sight is poor and spatial awareness a real problem . He can't walk without being guided and goes off in all directions with no awareness of safety and negotiating our way across a car park safely is becoming a real nightmare. I looked into renewing his passport but I just don't think he would be able to comply with the photo requirements and there are issues with me applying on his behalf.

Hi Joy, thanks for your comment.
Other proof of ID may be accepted - a birth or wedding certificate or an ID card such as the Citizen card that people can apply for - therefore there are a few options other than passport or drivers licence.
I would suggest that you speak to the local authority/council to see what they would accept. If you did decide to renew your brother's passport – whether for this or another purpose – I would suggest that you look at the services and assistance that is available. In terms of the passport photos you can explain on the form why someone cannot make the requirements and where this is due to a disability (for this purpose dementia is classed as a disability) then this should be accepted and supported to find a way round it - do note, though, that a doctors letter is needed.
More details about this can be found on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/passport-services-disabled
Hope this is helpful
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Alzheimer's Society blog team

Hello, just reading the last comment. Is a Doctors letter needed in advance ( to put with the application ) or just written evidence in the supporting 1200word application? My mum needs a badge, and Dad says the doctors reception is blocking it . She has macular degeneration in both eyes so practically blind but not registered blind, has just officially been diagnosed with Altzeimers after a few years dementia, and has a bad knee with a steroid injection now wearing off. She loves to walk and wander off on her own - realises she can't see but forgets that she can't remember anything and also has a sore knee so just heads off thinking she is fine so its unsafe within seconds ! Is a doctor's letter necessary ( which is what i also heard when you apply with a postal application), or do the council automatically send online applications to the doctor to ask them for a report ( which is what someone has said to my Dad).
thank-you

Hi Anne, thanks for getting in touch.

Different councils do tend to approach Blue badge applications slightly differently and even if the application is done online, ultimately the local council is responsible for the decision. Generally speaking it is fine to make the application anyway but important to include as much available information as possible when doing so.

Think about using any examples (or finding inspiration from the examples in the blog) that may be relevant, such as issues with depth perception and slow processing skills and/or a lack of quick reaction to speed and the risk near roads. Visual impairments like macular degeneration plus a cognitive impairment can be complex and it’s important that their interaction and complexity is emphasised.

Your mum may have fewer obvious physical mobility problems and it may be her dementia and/or visual impairment that causes greater problems but think about the impact these things have on her mobility generally and try to be clear and explicit in the info provided in the application.

If the supporting information from the GP is not available and cannot be included with the original application it could be sent later - they may ask for further information of this type anyway.

After the assessment the council may ask your mum to do a mobility assessment with a health professional who will look at her ability to carry out a range of mobility activities. The medical assessor will tell the council whether they think her cognitive and visual impairment ( and any other condition) limit her ability to move around enough for her to need a badge.

Again, different councils have slightly different ways of dealing with Blue badge applications so it would be helpful to ask if it’s acceptable to start the application process and what will the implications be if it isn’t accompanied by supporting evidence at the initial stage. You could try calling the council and ask to speak to the team dealing with Blue badges or better still use an email address to ask these questions so that any information provided by the council can be kept for later and used if necessary if there is any dispute.

Hope this is helpful, and best of luck with your application.
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Alzheimer's Society blog team

My husband has Alzheimer's and when I started the on-line application West Sussex says we can apply after the end of August for people with 'hidden disabilities'. This looks as if they must be addressing the situation so there may be a glimmer of hope by issuing a date.

I have applied for a blue badge for my mam who has Alzheimer's and subsequently has no spatial awareness when out of the home. She cannot even recognise which car she got out of in a car park. We applied under the hidden disabilities criteria and have just been turned down for a blue badge because she is escorted everywhere which apparently negates the need for a blue badge.

Similar situation to Tracey Longley above. I am so infuriated have written to the Secretary of State for Transport. The publicity regarding Blue Badges for hidden disabilities did not make clear at all the restrictions placed by the new legislation. For anyone who had their mobility assessment carried out prior to September 2019 beware - my wife was re-assessed in August 2018 and at the time I made it clear that the primary reason was to support a blue badge application. The assessor would not have been aware of the exact requirements of the new legislation and was, naturally, focussed on assessing to ensure the appropriate financial position was achieved. Therefore although my wife received the full 12 points for mobility this was not good enough for Surrey County Council. I am now considering contacting the BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme.

I've applied for a blue badge for my mother who has severe Alzheimer's dementia. OCC will not accept evidence provided by her GP, they require completion of a form by an "expert assessor"
In her case this would be the psychiatrist who confirmed her diagnosis nearly two years ago and who hasn't seen her since. I have written requesting the consultant to complete this form but as her condition has (predictably) worsened drastically since he assessed her this would be no reflection of her reality even if he is willing to do it.
Blue badges for hidden disabilities has clearly been introduced without considerations of the realities Alzheimer's sufferers experience. There seems to be a misconception that they receive ongoing medical care for the condition post diagnosis which has not been our experience. Nobody, other than her carers, knows the difficulties she experiences.
I am however unhelpfully contacted by OCC social services every time my mother manages to get out alone as she is clearly at risk being incapable of finding her way anywhere or communicating verbally. For these reasons she is on their register of vulnerable adults , which the blue badge team have access to, but they still need further evidence of her lack of capability.

I was diagnosed with dementia October'18 - following inclusion of dementia sufferers right to apply for a disabled badge I forwarded relevant information to Walsall Council- I was also asked to provide form DS1500 signed by my GP or consultant - guidance on completing this form refers to 'terminal illness' defined as a progressive disease where death as a consequence can reasonably be expected within 6 months. Has the definition been changed in respect of dementia ? I am presently fit to drive ( reviewed annually or before if my condition worsens) My question is - may a person with dementia qualify for a 'blue badge' if they have no current physical problems? Secondly why do local authorities have different requisites before issuing ?

Trying to get a blue badge for my husband who has PCA. He has 12 points on pip for mobility but we are being told he may well not qualify. I am mystified and frustrated beyond belief. Have already done the online form but now have numerous other forms to fill in.

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