How Can I Get A Temporary Handicap Placard?

person using walker at the beach

There are many types of disabled parking placards, so how do you know which type is right for your needs? It can be confusing, but the answer all comes down to your personal circumstances.

Each state governs its own parking placard system, but generally, red placards are for temporary disabilities, dark blue placards are permanent, and light blue are for wheelchair users. Due to the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, both public and private businesses need to have a minimum number of disabled parking spots, so you should always be able to find them.

You can also sometimes find specific parking permits for veterans and for international visitors. However, if you have a temporary injury or disability, you probably need a temporary handicap placard. Here’s what you need to know about how to get one.

What is a temporary handicap placard?

A temporary handicap placard is just as it sounds: it’s a permit that lets drivers with a temporary disability park in disabled spaces for the validity of the pass. In some cases, this might be six months, while others might only be valid for a duration specified by your doctor.

This is in contrast to a permanent handicap permit, which is generally good forever (although may need to be renewed every few years).

person in wheelchair using laptop for online consultation
Image by SHVETS Production on Pexels: You can download the forms you need online for your temporary handicap placard application.

What are the qualifying conditions for a temporary handicap placard?

Each state controls what qualifies for a temporary handicap permit, so if you’re unsure, the best thing to do is always check with your doctor or your state government.

However, in general terms, here are some of the qualifying health conditions that would make you eligible:

  • Inability to walk without needing to stop or rest, due to a temporary mobility condition like a broken or injured foot, back or spine injuries, or limited mobility while recovering from surgery
  • Any health condition that requires a walking aid, like crutches or a wheelchair
  • Need for an oxygen tank
  • Temporary heart or lung conditions
  • Any other temporary physical or mental health condition that restricts your mobility

If you’re expecting, you may wonder if you can get a temporary handicap parking permit for pregnancy. If your pregnancy has prevented you from moving about normally, then yes, most doctors will happily sign off on your approval for a temporary placard.

However, you can’t park in a disabled space without a placard, even if you’re pregnant – you’ll need to first apply for and receive the placard. (In recent years, many stores have started reserving spaces near the entrance for pregnant people or families, so utilizing these spots could be another option.)

How long will my temporary disabled parking permit be valid for?

In most cases, temporary handicap placards are valid for six months from the date of issue, or for a specific duration specified by your doctor.

However, if you end up needing your permit for longer than that, you can apply for another, as long as you have support from your doctor.

How to apply for a temporary handicap placard

So how can I get a temporary handicap placard? Here’s a general overview of the process. Note that each state may require slightly different paperwork, and the application fees will also vary.

1. Visit your state DMV website or office to determine which form is needed

Since each state has slightly different requirements, you’ll first need to do some research to find out what paperwork is required. Check the website for your state’s DMV office or give them a call – they can let you know what you need.

Print off the correct form so you can take it with you to your medical appointment, which is the next step.

pregnant woman
Image by Arteida MjESHTRI on Unsplash: If your pregnancy is limiting your mobility, you’ll qualify for a temporary handicap placard.

2. Get approval from a medical professional

To get your temporary permit, you’ll need sign-off from your doctor or a medical professional. This is to verify that you have a temporary injury or disability that limits your mobility, and that you have a legitimate need for the placard.

This is a simple process and stops people taking advantage of the handicap parking system when they aren’t entitled to use it. You can get your medical approval through a visit to your doctor or through a HIPAA-compliant telehealth consultation.

3. Submit your application

Once you’ve completed your forms, submit your application to the DMV in your state. Some might accept them via email or fax, while others will need to be delivered in person. Most states will require a small application fee as well.

As long as you’ve done everything correctly, your placard should be approved and mailed out to you in just a few days. Keep in mind that it’s only valid for yourself – you can’t share your temporary placard with anyone else.

Keep your permit in a safe place and display it clearly in your car whenever you need to use it. The disabled parking program is designed to make parking easier for anyone with a temporary disability, so a temporary handicap permit will make life much more convenient for you and your carers.

Featured image by Oxana Melis on Unsplash

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