Schemes to help disabled people include the Blue Badge scheme (to help with parking), road tax exemption, and help with buying or hiring motor vehicles. Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of help for disabled road users and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations nor is it a full statement of the law. Other sources of help and advice are given at the end of the leaflet.
The Blue Badge scheme
The main purpose of the scheme is to allow disabled and blind (severely sight impaired) people to park closer to their destination. This includes disabled children over the age of 2 who meet the conditions. The person entitled to have a badge may be a driver or a passenger.
When a vehicle is parked, the Blue Badge should be displayed so that the holder's name and the date of expiry are visible. If you do not display the badge correctly you could get a parking fine and you may also be fined if you use an out-of-date Blue Badge.
What does the Blue Badge entitle you to do?
It generally means that you can:
- Park without charge or time limit at parking meters and in 'on-street' disabled parking bays.
- Park without a time limit in streets where waiting is allowed for limited periods.
- Park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours in England and Wales (although there are some restrictions). In Scotland there is no time limit.
However, a Blue Badge is not a licence to park anywhere. Some restrictions do apply and the above is for guidance only. For example, you cannot park in bus or cycle lanes, when loading restrictions apply, etc. Also, the Blue Badge scheme does not apply to off-street or private car parks such as supermarket car parks. Although these private car parks often have designated disabled parking, the car park owner decides whether or not disabled people can park for free. You will need to read the full instructions when you get a Blue Badge.
Blue Badges can also be used in European Union (EU) countries and in some other European countries. Also, people with a Blue Badge do not have to pay the London congestion charge - but you must register with Transport for London before travelling. Blue Badge holders are exempt from tolls at certain river crossings, bridges and tunnels.
It is an offence to display a Blue Badge if the disabled person has not been in the vehicle prior to its being parked, unless the driver is parking to collect the disabled person.
Who can get a Blue Badge?
- If you get the higher rate of mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.
- If you get a Personal Independence Payment for being unable to walk further than 50 metres.
- If you get War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement.
- If you are registered blind (severely sight impaired).
- If you have received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
You may also be eligible if you have a permanent and substantial disability which means:
- You are unable to walk
- Or you are unable to walk very far without experiencing very considerable difficulty. This may include excessive pain and breathlessness, or a deterioration of health brought on by the effort needed to walk.
How can you apply for a Blue Badge?
You can apply for a Blue Badge via your local council - see https://www.gov.uk/blue-badge-scheme-information-council. They may ask your doctor for medical evidence about the degree of disability.
Vehicle Excise Duty (Road Tax) exemption
You are exempt from paying the Vehicle Excise Duty (Road Tax) if you get:
- The higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.
- The enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
- War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement.
If you are eligible you may nominate either your vehicle or another person's vehicle to be exempted from tax. If you use your employer's company car, you can nominate the company for exemption. To qualify for exemption the vehicle should be used substantially for the purposes of the disabled person.
How do you apply for exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty?
You claim the exemption when you apply for a tax disc. You will need to provide:
- Your exemption certificate serial number (see below)
- The surname, date of birth and National Insurance number of the exemption certificate holder.
Your exemption certificate must be one of the following:
- Certificate of entitlement for Disability Living Allowance.
- Statement of entitlement for Personal Independence Payment.
- Annual certificate of entitlement (DLA404, MHS330, WPA0442)
Help with hiring and purchasing a motor vehicle
The Motability charity has overall responsibility for the Motability Scheme which enables disabled people to exchange either their higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or their War Pensioners' mobility supplement to obtain a new or leased car, powered wheelchair or scooter.
Who can use Motability?
You can use the Motability Scheme if you receive any of the following:
- The higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.
- The enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment.
- The War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement.
- The Armed Forces Independence Payment.
Further reading & references
- Blue Badge Scheme; Department for Transport
- Financial help if you are disabled - vehicles and transport; GOV.UK
- Motability eligibility
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Tim Kenny
Dr Hayley Willacy