Veterans have made countless sacrifices to serve our country, but their difficulties don’t always end when they return home. For many vets, the transition back to civilian life is almost as hard as anything they experienced in combat.
According to IVN, around 13% of adult veterans are homeless – that meant 40,000 homeless vets in 2017. Female veterans are two to three times more likely to be homeless than any other group in the U.S. adult population, said a comparison study conducted by Housing and Urban Development officials. Around 53% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities, and many suffer from mental illness or substance abuse problems. Veterans are 50% more likely than other Americans to become homeless; contributing factors to this statistic include poverty, a lack of strong support networks, and poor living conditions.
Military members are at a high risk for developing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts almost 31% of Vietnam veterans, as many as 10% of Gulf War veterans, 11% of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and 20% of Iraqi war veterans. Although PTSD manifests itself differently in everybody, it can affect veterans’ day-to-day lives through flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and emotional problems.
In addition to PTSD from combat, sadly, more than 85,000 veterans also sought treatment in 2012 because of military sexual trauma (MST). Around 39%-53% of all homeless female veterans screened positive for military sexual trauma, and around 81% of military sexual assaults against men are never reported to military authorities.
Disabled veterans have an especially rough time. Not only are they adjusting back to civilian life and potentially struggling with PTSD, but they’re also adjusting to a completely new way of life because of their new disability. Disabled veterans might not get financial assistance, and they might struggle to find a job.
Luckily, there is one thing that can make their days a little easier: a disabled parking permit. If you’re a disabled veteran or you know someone who is, here’s what you need to know about the process of obtaining one.
First of all, if you’re ever wondered whether disabled veterans are eligible for a disabled parking permit, the answer is (most likely) yes. Although the qualifications will vary from state to state, some things stay the same. If a disabled vet cannot walk a set number of feet without stopping to rest; is considered to be legally blind; requires the use of a cane, brace, wheelchair, crutch, prosthetic device, or help from another person; or requires the use of a portable oxygen mask to walk, they will qualify for a disabled parking permit. (Have more questions? Apply for an evaluation with one of our doctors. No need to go to a doctor’s office – we do everything online.)
Since laws vary from state to state, it’s important to make sure you know the ins and outs of disabled parking permits in your specific state. For instance, in Georgia, disabled veterans can receive a license plate that is renewed with their vehicle registration. As long as their disability is 100% service-connected and is verified with the Veteran’s Administration or the Federal Government, they’re good to go. Vets can simply specify their disability status when filling out the application for a disabled parking badge, and then get the placard they need.
In California, having a handicap parking placard is extra helpful. Not only can drivers with the placard park in standard handicap parking places, they can also park at metered parking spaces for no cost and in areas designated for residents or merchants. Disabled veterans can receive a license plate if they meet specific requirements. Vets should complete the Disabled Veteran Certification on the Miscellaneous Certifications (Form REG 256A) and see if they meet the qualifications (permanent blindness, loss of use of one or more limbs, inability to move without an assistive device). Disabled parking permits for veterans in California can be a huge assistance in their everyday lives.
So how exactly can disabled parking permits help disabled veterans on a daily basis? Simple: they won’t have to stress over finding a parking place, and if they struggle to walk long distances, that won’t be an issue. They can easily find a parking spot just a few feet from their destination. No need for stress, pain, or exhaustion from a faraway parking place and a long walk.
After all that disabled veterans have been through, a front-row parking space is the least we can offer them. And luckily, it’s a simple process for them to get one.