How Do I Return A Lost Disabled Parking Permit?

Dr Handicap - mail
Dr Handicap - mail

If you’ve ever used a disabled parking permit, you know how much of a lifesaver they can be. For people with disabilities, a placard provides much easier and more convenient access to parking places to various businesses. With one in hand, there’s no more slugging across the humongous parking lot just to find that you’re exhausted by the time you get to the restaurant or doctor’s office. You can imagine how distressing it would be if you accidentally lost your placard. So here’s the info you need to know to answer the question, “How do I return a lost disabled parking permit?”

How do I return a handicap placard?

If you’ve found a handicap placard and can’t locate its owner, there are several avenues you can go down to ensure the placard eventually ends up back with its owner. Because it can be difficult for a placard owner to replace a lost permit, they’ll definitely appreciate your efforts to return it (even if it takes a little extra legwork on your part). Law enforcement and the DMV will also be thankful, since a lost placard can end up in the hands of someone who isn’t authorized to use it.

Here are a few options for returning a lost handicap placard:

  • If you find the placard outside of a business, restaurant, doctor’s office, etc., hand it in to management or at the front desk. Then they’ll have it in their possession if the owner calls in to report that they’ve misplaced their placard. This is probably the easiest way to return it (and takes the least amount of effort on both your part and the placard owner’s part).
  • If you’re unclear where to turn in a lost placard, you also have the option of contacting local law enforcement. By calling your local police station (not 911!), you can easily report that you’ve found a missing placard. They can point you in the right direction of how to return the placard to its owner. If you’re wondering “Can you look up a handicap placard number on your own?”, the answer is no. However, law and parking enforcement in your particular city most likely do have the authority to look up the number and determine who the placard belongs to. You might just have to drop off the placard at the police station so they can deliver it to the owner.
Dr Handicap - woman on phone

Image by Nastya_Gepp on Pixabay: You can call your local law enforcement to report if you’ve found a lost handicap placard.

  • You may ask yourself, “Should I return a lost disabled parking permit to the DMV?”. You do always have the option of dropping off the placard at your local DMV field office. However, you should be prepared that there might be a long wait at the DMV in some areas (even if you’re just dropping off a placard). Once they have it, the DMV can then look through their database and find the correct owner and either return it or issue a brand new one to the owner.
  • As the DMV is not always the most pleasant place to visit, some DMV offices will take lost placards mailed into them. You can find the address to send lost placards on your specific state’s DMV website. Although you might have to pay for postage, this is typically one option you can use to return a lost disabled parking permit.

What happens if you lose your handicap placard?

Now, what if you are the unlucky soul who’s lost their placard? Don’t worry – there are steps you can take to replace your lost parking permit. Each state does have its own process for reporting a lost placard and receiving a new one. Some states require you to fill out a brand-new application, while others simply need you to fill out a replacement application (that doesn’t consist of a lot of steps).

In most states, you are not required to pay anything to replace a lost or stolen placard, although some states do have a fee for replacing a temporary placard. Typically, you can submit your replacement request online through your state’s DMV website, by mailing in a request form, or by going directly in person to your local DMV office. The downside is that it might take a minimum of several weeks (and often even longer than that) for you to receive your replacement placard. If you have other questions about this process, your local DMV office can provide you with help.

Dr Handicap - computer

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash: Some states allow you to apply for a replacement handicap placard online.

Handicap placards are available for people who need them so that everyone has access to convenient parking places. Losing one can be a nightmare if you rely on it to make getting around easier for yourself. Since this is the case for so many disabled individuals, it’s definitely the right thing to do to turn in any lost disabled parking permits you might come across. Think of it as doing a good deed for someone who depends on that placard to get through their day. Plus, if you ever happen to lose your placard someday, someone else might return the favor!

Featured image by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

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