By Pat Hutchinson MBE
Q: My elderly mother is very frail and can’t walk very far at all. She doesn’t drive herself, but I usually take her to hospital appointments and family visits and so on. Would I be able to get a blue badge on her behalf?
A: The blue badge scheme allows disabled people to park free of charge and without time limit at on-street parking meters.
Your mother will automatically qualify for a blue badge if she receives the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance or war pensioners’ mobility supplement, or if she is registered blind.
She may also qualify if she has a permanent and substantial disability which means she is unable to walk, or can walk only with considerable difficulty.
To apply for a blue badge in Northern Ireland you can telephone 0300 200 7818 to get the form and the fee is £2. She will need two passport sized photographs.
If you are driving with your mother as a passenger, you will be able to use her blue badge to pick her up, drop her off, and ensure you can park close to where she needs to be.
But it is a criminal offence to misuse a blue badge, and it can lead to a £1,000 fine, so she should never let anyone else borrow the badge for their own use.
The Blue Badge Helpline can give you more information about using the scheme.
You can also find more information by emailing Bluebadge@drdni.gov.uk or by contacting your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.
• Newtownabbey Citizens Advice Bureau, Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Rathcoole.
Telephone 028 9085 2271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org