Does My Disabled Parking Permit Work In A Non-Disabled Parking Space?

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You see them everywhere: white-and-blue wheelchair symbols that denote a parking space for those with a disabled parking permit. People with certain conditions or disabilities can generally get a disabled parking permit – but what does it entitle you to? Here are a few of the basics you need to know about disabled parking permits and what they allow (and don’t allow) you to do while you’re out and about.

The Disabled Parking Permit: What Is It?

In the United States, millions of people have health concerns or disabilities that make it difficult to navigate the world around them. Disabled parking spaces help them to manage their daily needs without added physical and emotional stress.

Disabled parking permits, also referred to as disabled placards, badges, or tags, are displayed on the vehicle. They permit the owner to park in specially designated places, including handicap parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Also, depending on where you live, they may allow you to park in metered parking for free for a certain amount of time.

There are two types of disabled parking permits: temporary and permanent. If you have a condition that won’t impact you in the long term, you may qualify for a temporary permit. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Who Are Disabled Parking Permits For?

The specific qualifications of disabled parking permits vary from state to state. In general, a person must be limited in their ability to walk 200 yards without the need to stop. Other issues, such as limited night vision or difficulty getting in and out of a vehicle, may also be taken into consideration.

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The most common health conditions that qualify a person for a disabled parking permit include:

  • Diseases or conditions that limit the ability to use your legs or walk
  • Inability to walk with the use of a wheelchair, prosthetic, cane, brace, crutch, or similar device
  • Advanced cardiac or lung disease
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological impairments
  • Mobility impairments
  • Vision issues such as partial sightedness or low vision
  • Loss or impairment of the use of both hands or legs

Of course, it’s not just physical conditions you can see that may qualify you for a disabled parking permit; there are also invisible conditions that qualify. Conditions such as these may also entitle you to use a disabled parking permit:

  • Back injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Brain injuries or tumors
  • Lung and heart conditions
  • Hidden prosthetics
  • Cancer treatment
  • Recent surgery
  • Seizure disorders
  • Organ transplants
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Short-term memory loss

How to Get a Disabled Parking Permit

If you think you’d benefit from using a disabled parking permit, then the first place you need to start is with your health care provider. They should be able to help you understand the requirements and whether or not your particular condition qualifies you for a permit. They also need to help you fill out the forms needed to acquire one through your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

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After you speak with your provider to know if a claim would be supported by them or not, then go to the website of the DMV in your state. You may be able to print the documents you need to fill out, or make an appointment online to get the necessary paperwork.

The fees required to obtain a handicap parking permit differ from state to state. In some states they are free of charge; in others, they cost a fee each time you need to renew. It’s important to ask about this so you can be prepared for what may be expected.

The Rules of Disabled Parking Permits

When you obtain a handicap parking permit, it’s important to understand that you’re the only one who is allowed to use it. You don’t have to be the driver of the vehicle you use it in – being a passenger will suffice – but you must be present when the permit is in use.

Depending on the state you live in, any willful misuse of the permit can lead to cancelation, fines, community service, and other penalties. It’s never a good idea to let your friends or family “borrow” your permit so they can get better parking at their destination.

As far as its legitimate use for you, there are several benefits to a disabled parking permit beyond the fact that it allows you to park in designated handicap parking. In some states and cities, having a disabled parking permit allows you to park for free in government parking lots and some metered spaces, or it may allow you to park in a spot that usually enforces a time limit without that limit being enforced, whether it’s a handicap parking spot or not. Make sure you understand the rules surrounding the use of your permit, which can be found at your local DMV.

If you have questions about disabled parking permits, check out the Dr Handicap website or talk to your local DMV.