This is the second in a series of blog articles discussing the Blue Badge scheme. Yesterday’s blog explained the assessment and eligibility criteria for applicants.
The Blue Badge scheme provides a national arrangement of parking concessions for disabled people, and operates throughout the UK.
Applying for a Blue Badge
Applications for a Blue Badge can be made online or by requesting a form from the relevant local authority. If the individual is eligible without further assessment, the application process will be relatively simple. If the individual is not automatically eligible, but rather eligible subject to further assessment, they will need to complete an extra part of the application form to explain why they need a badge.
The applicant should receive a decision within 6-8 weeks, depending on their local authority.
Renewal and return
The applicant will need to renew their badge after three years, or when they stop receiving the benefit the badge is linked to, for example the Disability Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payment.
The Blue Badge must be given back to the local authority if the badge-holder no longer needs it, for example, if their condition improves. The badge-holder could be fined £1,000 if they don’t return the Blue Badge in these circumstances.
When can a local authority refuse an application?
A local authority can refuse an application for a Blue Badge if:
- The individual does not fall into either the automatic or discretionary category of people who are eligible for a Blue Badge;
- The individual has misused a Blue Badge in the past and has at least one conviction for doing so;
- The local authority has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual is not the person they claim to be;
- The local authority has reasonable grounds for believing that the individual would let someone else use the Blue Badge; or
- The local authority believes that the individual is not resident in its area.
Appealing against an eligibility decision
There is no legal right to appeal if an applicant does not meet the eligibility criteria for a Blue Badge. However, the Welsh Government does recommend that local authorities have an appeals procedure in place. If the local authority has such an appeals procedure, the applicant should ask for details of it, and follow the relevant steps to make an appeal.
An individual should be given a detailed written explanation as to why their application has been refused. After receiving this explanation, the individual should explain to their local authority why they believe that decision to be incorrect, and provide evidence to support their case.
Appealing against any other decision
If an individual’s application was refused because they had previously misused a Blue Badge, they can appeal to the Welsh Government’s Blue Badge Team. An applicant can also appeal if they have received a notice demanding that they return their Blue Badge on the grounds of misuse or because the badge was obtained dishonestly. Any appeal must be sent to the Welsh Government’s Blue Badge Team:
Blue Badge Team
Integrated Transport Unit,
An appeal must be made within 28 days of the application being refused, and the individual must give full details of their case and why they are appealing.
There is no hearing, but the appeals office will write to the relevant local authority to ask for its grounds for refusing the application for the badge, and then make a decision. If the individual already has a badge, it will remain valid until the appeal is decided.
If the appeal is refused, the individual may appeal to a magistrates’ court.
If an individual is unhappy with the response to their complaint, they can contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. They will consider the application and decide whether the council made the incorrect decision.
Much of the information above is taken from Citizens Advice’s Advisernet website.
This is the second in a series of blog articles discussing the Blue Badge scheme. Tomorrow’s blog will explain the Welsh Government’s expansion of the Blue Badge scheme.
Article by Megan Jones, National Assembly for Wales Research Service.
Image from Pixabay by stevepb. Licensed under Creative Commons.
This post is also available as a print-friendly PDF: Blue Badges: How to apply and how to appeal? (PDF, 156KB)