How To Ensure Your California Disabled Parking Permit Remains Valid

Dr Handicap - California road

If you live in California and are either permanently or temporarily disabled, then you may qualify for a California disabled parking permit. Getting one isn’t a terribly complicated process, but can be a daunting one if you’re not sure where to start. It’s vital to know the steps you need to take to obtain a California handicap parking permit, as well as what you must do in order to ensure it stays valid. Here’s everything you need to know!

Am I Eligible?

In California disabled parking permits are given to those who have impaired mobility due to a diagnosed disease, loss of the use of one or more extremities, visual impairment, certain cardiac conditions, or loss of use of both hands. You may also qualify for a disability parking permit if you cannot move without the help of an assistive mobility device.

How to Apply for a California Disabled Parking Permit

In order to get a disability placard or plate in the state of California, you must begin by filling out the proper forms. You can obtain an Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates either at your local Department of Motor Vehicles branch or on their website.

You must then have a medical professional such as your doctor, surgeon, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, optometrist, or chiropractor fill out the “Doctor’s Certification” portion of the application. If you’re applying for a temporary placard, then you may be required to pay a fee when submitting the application. Note that if you’re applying for a disabled parking plate, there is no fee, but you will a need to include your vehicle’s current registration information.

Dr Handicap - application form

A Word About Medical Certifications

As mentioned, you must have a certified medical professional fill out a portion of the form in order to receive a California disabled parking permit. The reason behind this is that the person treating you has knowledge of your disability or disease and can attest on your behalf that you need a disabled parking permit. You can have a licensed chiropractor sign off as well if you have lost the use of one or both of your lower extremities, or the use of your lower extremities is significantly impaired. A licensed optometrist or medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of eye diseases can also certify your disability if it has to do with the loss of vision.

However, you do not need a medical certification if:

  • You currently have a disabled parking placard or license plates on your vehicle and wish to renew
  • You have lost both hands or at least one lower extremity

If you have questions about whether or not you require medical certification, feel free to speak with your doctor or contact your local DMV.

Different Types of California Disabled Parking Permit

There are a few different types of California handicap parking permit. They are:

  • Temporary parking placards – These are for use by those who are temporarily disabled and are valid for up to six months or the dates noted on the medical certification section of your application. It cannot be renewed more than six consecutive times.
  • Permanent parking placards – These are for those with permanent disabilities. They are valid for two years and will expire every odd-numbered year on June 30. You’ll need to make sure to renew.
  • Travel parking placards for non-residents – If you’re planning to travel to the state of California and are disabled or currently have disability plates on your vehicle, then you can obtain a California disabled parking permit for 90 days or the timeframe noted by a medical professional on your application. (However, law enforcement will also accept out-of-state permits in California.)
  • Travel parking placards for residents – If you live in California, you can obtain a travel parking placard that is good for up to 30 days.
Dr Handicap - San Francisco parking

Parking Privileges

So, now that you have a certified California disabled parking permit, what does it allow you to do? That’s a great question – and an important one, since you’ll want to take advantage of all that a parking permit will allow.

When you have secured a disability permit for your vehicle, then you can:

  • Park in handicap spaces with the wheelchair symbol
  • Park next to a blue curb that is authorized only for those with a disability permit
  • Park in a metered space on the street without paying
  • Park in an area reserved for only merchants or residents
  • Park next to a green curb that indicates parking with a time limit for as long as you need

Note that when you have a disability parking placard or plate or have a disabled veteran plate, then you can park without time limits in any space. You are also entitled to full service at gas stations that are self-service unless the facility only has one person working.

How to Renew My California Disabled Parking Permit

One of the best things about living in California (aside from the awesome weather) is how the DMV handles the renewal of permanent disability parking placards – saving you from constantly asking yourself the question, ‘Is my California disabled parking permit valid?’ To renew, you don’t need to do a thing. The DMV will automatically send you a new permit in the mail to the address they have on record. If you move, then you must fill out a change of address form and mail it to the DMV.

Navigating the Golden State with a disability can have its challenges, but getting a disability parking placard is not one of them. Just makes sure you have all your ducks in a row to secure your California handicap parking permit, and the rest is easy!