Applying for a disabled person's bus pass

1. Who is eligible for a disabled person's bus pass?

The disabled person’s pass is for people of fare paying age (5 and over) who live in England with a qualifying disability. The bus pass allows free off-peak travel on local buses throughout England.

The disability should have a substantial effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and must:

  • be permanent, or
  • have lasted at least 12 months, or
  • be likely to last at least 12 months, or
  • be likely to recur

A qualifying disability would be if you:

  • are blind or partially sighted (Category A)
  • are profoundly or severely deaf (Category B)
  • are without speech (Category C)
  • have a disability, or have suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long-term effect on your ability to walk (Category D)
  • don’t have arms or have long-term loss of the use of both arms (Category E)
  • have a learning disability, that is a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind, which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning (Category F)
  • are unable to drive because your application for a driving licence would or has been refused under section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (physical fitness). However, you won’t be eligible if you were refused because of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol. (Category G)

Please note that mental health conditions are distinct from learning disabilities and are assessed under the final category (G) unable to drive.

2. What do I need to apply?

To apply you will need the following:

  • proof of your disability
  • proof of your address
  • a photograph of you.

If you are sending these documents please only send photocopies. East Sussex County Council cannot accept any responsibility for items that are mislaid in the post. No documentation will be returned.

Proof of your disability

For a list of acceptable documents see the relevant section of this guide for the category that you intend to apply under.

Proof of your address in East Sussex

  • a valid current driving licence (photocard only)
  • a letter from Department of Work and Pensions (no more than 3 months old)
  • a recent bank or credit card statement (no more than 3 months old)
  • your current council tax bill
  • a recent utility bill (no more than 3 months old).

If your main home is not in East Sussex, you should apply for a bus pass to the local authority where you usually live.

Photograph

You will need one passport style/sized colour photograph of your head and shoulders with a single coloured background.

Head wear, unless specified for religious or medical purposes, and tinted glasses are not to be worn.

3. Blind or partially sighted (Category A)

A person is eligible for a concessionary bus pass if they are blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired).

You will be eligible if

  • you are registered, or entitled to be registered, as blind or severely sight impaired, or
  • you are registered, or entitled to be registered, as partially sighted or sight impaired.

For more information download our guidance document

Blind or partially sighted guidance document (Category A)

4. Profoundly or severely deaf (Category B)

A person is eligible for a concessionary bus pass if they are profoundly or severely deaf.

You will be eligible if

  • your hearing loss is severe or profound, i.e. greater than 70 dBHL, in both ears

For more information download our guidance document

Profoundly or severely deaf guidance document (Category B)

5. Without speech (Category C)

A person is eligible for a concessionary bus pass if they are without speech.

You will be eligible if

  • you are unable to communicate orally in any language

For more information download our guidance document

Without speech guidance document (Category C)

6. Walking disability (Category D)

A person is eligible for a concessionary bus pass if they have a long term and substantial disability that means they cannot walk or which makes walking very difficult.

You will be eligible if

  • you are unable to walk at all,
  • you can only get about by swinging through crutches (long term),
  • you are unable to walk more than 64 metres without severe discomfort,
  • it takes an excessive amount of time to walk a short distance e.g. 5 minutes to walk 100 metres, or
  • the exertion required to walk would constitute a danger to your life or would be likely to lead to serious deterioration in your health.

For more information download our guidance document

Walking disability guidance (Category D)

7. Does not have arms or has long term loss of the use of both arms (Category E)

A person is eligible for a concessionary bus pass if they do not have arms of if they have the long term loss of use of both arms.

You will be eligible if

  • you have both arms but are unable to use them to carry out day to day tasks,
  • you have a limb reduction deficiency of both arms,
  • you have a bilateral upper limb amputation, or
  • you have a medical condition (muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, motor neurone disease or condition of comparable severity) which affects the use of your arms.

For more information download our guidance document

Does not have arms or has long term loss of the use of both arms guidance document (Category E)

8. Learning disability (Category F)

A person is eligible for a concessionary bus pass if they have a learning disability as defined by the Transport Act 2000. The Transport Act 2000 defines learning disability as “a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning”.

You will be eligible if

  • you have a learning disability which includes significant impairment of intelligence AND social functioning. This includes Downs Syndrome, some autistic spectrum disorders and some other learning disabilities.

Please note you may still qualify if your condition is so severe that you would be refused a driving licence. See the information for ‘Category G’ for more details.

For more information download our guidance document

Learning disability guidance document (Category F)

9. Refusal of driving licence/unable to drive due to medical reasons (Category G)

This must not include those who would be excluded from applying for a licence, or have been excluded from holding a licence due to the persistent misuse of drugs and/or alcohol.

If you are in possession of a current driving licence you cannot apply under this category without surrendering it.

You will be eligible if

  • you have epilepsy and your current experience of seizures means that you would not be eligible for a driving licence
  • you have diabetes and have suffered more than one hypoglycaemic attack requiring the assistance of another person within the last 12 months,
  • you have a severe mental disorder which means you would be refused a driving licence or have your driving licence revoked,
  • you cannot read a registration plate in good light at 20.5 metres (with lenses),
  • you are liable to sudden attacks of giddiness or fainting,

You may also be eligible if:

  • you have another disability which means that you would be refused a driving licence or have your driving licence revoked

Applicants under this category may have their details passed to the DVLA for the purpose of fraud prevention.

For more information download our guidance document

Refusal of driving licence/unable to drive due to medical reasons guidance document (Category G)

10. Companion bus pass

If you are disabled and need help to travel, you can apply for a companion pass which allows someone to travel with you free of charge. A specialist’s opinion (someone independent who understands your medical condition) on travel arrangements would be taken into consideration when the application is being assessed. Please submit this in addition to your evidence of disability.

You do not have to always travel with a companion. You may not be able to use the companion element (if applicable) of a Companion pass outside of East Sussex.

11. Prove you are eligible and apply

Where do I get an application form?

You can either:

I would also like a guidance form where can I get these?

Please download the appropriate form below, if you need a printed version please call our information centre on 0300 33 09 471 (local rate – lines are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm) and they will post one to you.

  1. Blind or partially sighted (Category A)
  2. Profoundly or severely deaf (Category B)
  3. Without speech (Category C)
  4. Walking disabilty (Category D)
  5. Does not have arms or has long term loss of the use of both arms (Category E)
  6. Learning disability (Category F)
  7. Refusal of driving licence/unable to drive due to medical reasons (Category G)

I have everything ready how do I apply?

All your documentation should be sent to East Sussex Bus Pass, PO Box 212, Waterlooville, PO7 6ZN.