An In-Depth Look at the List of Medical Conditions That Qualify You For Disabled Parking

Dr Handicap - disabled parking sign on wall
Dr Handicap - disabled parking sign on wall

The medical conditions that qualify a person for a disabled parking badge vary slightly from state to state. In each state, the final say as to whether a person qualifies for handicap parking is left to the registered medical practitioner who examines them and then fills in their application. In most states, a local or out-of-state physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, or optometrist can examine and verify a potential disabled parking user. The fact that the examining medical professional has the final say means there is a large amount of flexibility as to who can qualify, and applications can be judged on a case-by-case basis. The core list of medical conditions that typically qualify a person for disabled parking in the U.S. are similar in every state.

Here is an in-depth look at the list of medical conditions that qualify you for disabled parking in the U.S.

Heart Disease

In all U.S. states, a person suffering from a heart condition that is designated Class III or IV by the American Heart Association qualifies for a disabled parking placard. A Class III cardiac condition is one that results in a marked limitation of physical activity, and while a patient would be comfortable at rest, less than ordinary activity could cause fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea. A Class IV condition would mean a person was unable to carry on any physical activity without discomfort, would have symptoms of heart failure at rest, and if any physical activity is undertaken, discomfort would increase.

Chronic Inflammatory Disease

Various diseases fall under the umbrella term of “chronic inflammatory disease.” A chronic inflammatory disease will often lead to reduced mobility, and in most states this will qualify a person for disabled parking. The most common chronic inflammatory diseases are inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Dr Handicap - chest pain

Image by Pexels on Pixabay: Any chest or lung condition that results in shortness of breath will usually ensure you qualify for a disabled parking permit.

Osteoarthritis

The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage

between bones wears away due to an injury, general wear and tear, or a long-term lack of movement. People with osteoarthritis experience a lot of pain because the cushioning that the cartilage provides is greatly reduced. This means that they are often quite immobile. In most states, having osteoarthritis will qualify a person for a disabled parking placard.

Respiratory Illness

There are various respiratory illnesses that will qualify a person for handicap parking in most circumstances. The most common respiratory conditions that cause people to need to use disabled parking are cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In all states, any condition that necessitates the use of a portable oxygen tank will qualify a person for a disabled parking placard.

Multiple Sclerosis

M.S. is a lifelong condition that can result in severe disability. It is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord, and this can result in symptoms such as vision problems, issues with limb mobility, and a lack of sensation and balance. M.S. often necessitates the use of a wheelchair, and will qualify a person for a disabled parking badge.

General Mobility Problems

A person qualifies for a disabled parking placard if they have any condition that curtails general mobility to the extent that a person cannot walk a set distance (which varies by state, and is usually between 50 feet and 200 feet) without needing to pause for rest, or if they have any condition that necessitates the use of a wheelchair, crutches, or Zimmer frame.

Amputee

If a person has had a limb amputated – a foot, leg, arm, hand, or digit – they will qualify for disabled parking in the U.S.

Dr Handicap - family

Neurological Disease

Conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and/or nerves include Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spina bifida, meningitis, brain tumors, and epilepsy. They can be brought on by genetics, spinal cord or brain injuries, seizures, infections, cancers, or by degeneration of the nerve cells. Neurological diseases can have very acute symptoms such as an inability to move, speak, swallow, breathe, or learn, and will generally qualify someone to use handicap parking.

Chronic Pain

Many types of chronic pain, including persistent back pain and fibromyalgia syndrome – a long-term chronic condition that causes fatigue, muscle stiffness, and increased sensitivity to pain – will qualify a person for disabled parking in most situations.

Acute Sensitivity to Sunlight

In some states, an acute sensitivity to sunlight that results in burning, blistering, or rashes is a qualifying condition.

Deafness and Blindness

In all states, being legally blind, partially sighted, hard of hearing, or deaf will qualify a person for a handicap parking badge.

Obesity

Extreme obesity that results in health complications and a lack of mobility may qualify a person for disabled parking in the U.S.

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