What changes are being brought in?
A new Blue Badge was launched on 1 January 2012 in England and Scotland. It is part of the UK Government's reform programme
Since January 2012 there have been a number of changes made to the Blue Badge application process:
- Badges cannot be issued in person at the Customer Service Centres. This includes new applications; renewals or duplicate badges. All badges across the country are produced by a national supplier and your badge will be posted to your home address.
- There is a requirement to prove your identity and home address as part of the application process to reduce the opportunity for fraud.
- The fee for all blue badges is £10.
- More information is required as part of your application to help form a national database and assess your eligibility.
- Applicants who are severely sight impaired have the option of submitting a Certificate of Vision Impairment or BD8 form as proof of their eligibility for a Blue Badge.
- An applicant who has been awarded a lump sum benefit at tariffs 1-8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and is certified as having a permanent and substantial disability, which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking is eligible without further assessment.
- There is a national helpline for general enquiries for Blue Badges. The Initial Enquiry Support Service (IESS) is a national service provided by Northgate as a point of contact for people wanting information about the Blue Badge scheme. The service can be contacted via telephone on 0844 4630213 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can apply for and renew a badge online via Directgov at www.direct.gov.uk. Those applying and renewing online can track the progress of their application. The address for people to use to access the online form will be www.direct.gov.uk/bluebadge.
- There is also an eligibility checker for those who want to find out if they are eligible for a badge - https://bluebadge.direct.gov.uk/directgovapply.html
- Approximately 9-10 weeks before a Blue Badge expires, the Badge holder will receive either a letter, text message or email as a reminder that the Badge is due to expire and inviting the badge holder to apply to renew the Badge.
- Applying for or renewing a badge might mean completing a different application form to one you may have completed before. This may also involve providing different information so that your local authority can process your application more effectively and make an informed decision about whether or not you need to have a mobility assessment.
Newcastle City Council are still in charge of administering the Blue Badge scheme and issuing badges for applicants living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Since April 2012,
- Badge holders are able to report lost and stolen badges and update changes to their details online
- Independent mobility assessments will help ensure that badges are issued fairly and consistently across the country. Some applicants will be asked to attend a mobility assessment. The assessment will take place at either of these clinics.
For further information regarding changes to the blue badge scheme, please refer to the booklet 'Changes to the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000'.
There is also an ongoing process of applicants who were in receipt of Disability Living Allowance being migrated across to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Applicants who score 8 or more on the “Moving Around” descriptor of PIP will qualify for a Blue Badge without further assessment.