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Blue Badge parking and dementia

  • Publication date: October 2023
  • Review date: October 2025

A Blue Badge is a parking permit that allows people with disabilities or health conditions to park closer to their destination, often free of charge. If you or the person you care for have dementia, you may be able to get a Blue Badge.

People with a Blue Badge – whether they are the driver or passenger – can park free of charge on the street:

  • where there are parking meters or pay and display machines
  • in disabled parking bays
  • on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours (but not where there is a ban on loading and unloading)
  • in places where all motorists can park for a limited time free of charge – but there may be a time limit for Blue Badge holders too

You may be able to park in other places using your Blue Badge but you should always check if there are any restrictions, as there may be different rules. For example:

  • in private car parks eg shopping centres, supermarkets, hospitals
  • in town centres where local parking schemes are in operation
  • at airports
  • in central London, where the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, the City of Westminster, the City of London and parts of Camden have their own disabled badge schemes – for information, please see Sources of support, below

Blue Badge holders are also exempt from the London congestion charge.

For a full guide to Blue Badge rules visit:

A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean a person is entitled to a Blue Badge, but many people with dementia will qualify.

Some people automatically qualify for a Blue Badge based on benefits they receive. These are people who:

  • receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if they can’t walk more than 50 metres (a score of eight points or more in the ‘moving around’ section) or if stress, anxiety or other mental health issues prevent them leaving the house (a score of 10 points in the ‘planning and following journeys’ section)
  • are registered blind
  • receive War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
  • have 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

Other people may be eligible for a Blue Badge depending on their circumstances. For example, a person with dementia may qualify for a Blue Badge if:

  • walking endangers their health and safety
  • they are a risk to themselves or others around vehicles, traffic or car parks
  • they struggle severely to plan or follow a journey
  • they find it difficult or impossible to control their actions and lack awareness of the impact this could have on others
  • they regularly have intense and overwhelming responses to situations that cause a temporary loss of behavioural control
  • they frequently become extremely anxious or fearful in public or open spaces

In England, Wales and Scotland, you can apply for a Blue Badge at gov.uk.

In Northern Ireland, you should apply at nidirect.gov.uk.

Some councils will let you apply on paper.

You’ll need to provide:

  • proof of identity
  • proof of address
  • a digital passport-style photo
  • your phone number, email address and postal address

If you automatically qualify for a Blue Badge based on receiving benefits, you will need to provide proof of these benefits.

If you are applying without benefits, eg if you have a hidden disability like dementia, you will be asked to provide details of:

  • any relevant medication you take
  • relevant treatments that you receive or are due to receive
  • professionals who are or have been involved in your care

If you are applying without benefits, your local council will decide whether you can have a Blue Badge, and you may need to provide further information. The decision usually takes around 12 weeks.

A Blue Badge costs up to £10 in England, £20 in Scotland, £10 in Northern Ireland, and is free in Wales.

They usually last three years; if you wish to renew it, you should apply before your current one expires.

When using your Blue Badge, you must:

  • display it on the dashboard or fascia of the car, with the front of the badge facing upwards
  • display the parking clock when you park on yellow lines or in an area with a time limit – set it to the 15-minute period in which you arrive

You can use it if you are the driver, passenger, or if someone needs to park so they can drop you off or collect you.

You must not:

  • let anyone other than the Blue Badge holder use it
  • give the badge to friends or family to allow them to park for free – even if they are visiting you
  • use the badge to allow a non-disabled passenger or driver to take advantage of Blue Badge parking benefits if you are remaining in the car, eg they cannot use the badge to park on yellow lines and go into a shop if you stay in the car

You must notify the DVLA (or the DVA in Northern Ireland) and your vehicle insurer if you are a driver and have dementia and/or certain other medical conditions.

If you don’t, you may be fined and your insurance will be invalid if you are involved in an accident.

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