Millions of Americans live with “hidden disabilities”. These individuals are often struggling with chronic conditions or physical limitations in which their symptoms impact their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, those with “hidden disabilities” don’t always receive the same respect or consideration as those with outwardly obvious conditions (such as ones that require wheelchairs). However, even if someone has a disability that doesn’t present itself in typical observable ways, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still entitled to qualify for a disabled parking permit. Let’s take a look at why disabled parking permits can extend to patients with “hidden disabilities”.
Qualifying Conditions For Disabled Parking
Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) agencies throughout the country have been trying to afford people with “hidden disabilities” the same privileges as those with more obvious conditions. This means that handicap placards are awarded for many disabilities, not just ones where people can immediately see their symptoms. Many people struggle with significant difficulties, whether it’s fatigue or discomfort when walking. So, even if they aren’t confined to a wheelchair or need to use a cane, they still deserve special accommodations.
In fact, there are a wide variety of reasons why someone can apply for a disabled parking permit. Here are just a few examples of qualifying conditions for disabled parking:
- Loss of mobility
- Limited or no use of arms or legs
- Use of a prosthesis (of any limb)
- Limited vision
- Cardiac conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke)
- Lung or pulmonary disorders (COPD, asthma, emphysema)
Some locations even consider certain mental disorders to be qualifying conditions if they impact a person’s ability to comfortably walk long distances. It’s likely that more states throughout the U.S. will become even more accepting of these types of disabilities as time goes on.
Examples Of “Hidden Disabilities”
There are many disabilities that can make it difficult for people to be mobile but that aren’t always visible to a bystander. For example, many autoimmune disorders (like lupus) don’t have a lot of hugely noticeable symptoms, but the person can still get tired very quickly and experience discomfort when walking far distances. Individuals who suffer from degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis can also have very limited mobility even if they appear outwardly healthy to some observers. Handicap parking permits can help make the lives of people with “hidden disabilities” easier by allowing them to park closer to retail locations, business establishments, and doctors’ offices.
More and more illnesses are being considered acceptable as qualifying conditions for disabled parking permits. Everything from asthma and obesity to inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis are deemed valid disabilities. As long as a physician is able to confirm that the patient cannot feasibly walk long distances, the person can apply for a handicap parking permit. They can head to a medical professional, including a physician, podiatrist, optometrist, physician’s assistant, or advanced practice nurse, for help completing the handicap permit application.
The doctor will talk through the patient’s medical history with them, as well as their current symptoms that are impacting their ability to easily move around. If a patient doesn’t have a doctor, they can always head to Dr. Handicap to conduct a video chat with a licensed physician for help with their application. Once the patient has the signature of the physician, they’ll be all set to receive their disabled parking permit from the DMV.
Benefits Of A Handicap Parking Permit For “Hidden Disabilities”
There are many benefits to getting a handicap parking placard for a person with a “hidden disability”. Patients with disabilities often have to forego plans when they aren’t able to park close to the venue. They can become more isolated and less social because of their disability. However, a disabled parking permit can result in them being able to travel more (even if it’s just around their own town). They’ll know that they’ll be able to obtain a closer parking place without any problems, which means they won’t get exhausted on their outings from just walking across the parking lot. This actually allows them to have more independence and a better chance of interacting with the world around them.
Even if the disabled person can’t drive, a parking permit can be helpful, since it can be transferred to any vehicle. As long as the placard is only used when the disabled person is in the car, it can be utilized anywhere. Additionally, parents who have children with “hidden disabilities” should also consider applying for a handicap parking permit. Children with conditions such as autism or Down Syndrome can have trouble handling the distress of walking long distances. They can greatly benefit from being able to get around more easily in a less stressful manner. Even if these children don’t have obvious physical symptoms, their “hidden disabilities” can still impact the way they function out in the world.
There is still a considerable stigma facing those individuals with “hidden disabilities”. Many people unfairly judge someone they see with a handicap parking permit that doesn’t appear to be disabled. The more awareness people are able to bring to the idea of someone with a “hidden disability”, the weaker the stigma will be in the future. It’s imperative for our society to remember that just because you can’t see someone’s disability, doesn’t mean they don’t have one – or that they aren’t entitled to the benefits of a handicap parking permit.