How A Miami Disabled Driver Can Qualify For A Disabled Parking Permit
A disabled parking permit can help people with limited mobility do more than just park closer to their destination. These permits also help to save energy, time, and a little frustration for people with disabilities when they’re out and about.
Each state has its own set of rules and qualifying criteria for handicap parking permits. In Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles oversees the process. If you’re a Floridian in and around Miami and you’re interested in obtaining a disabled parking permit, here’s what you need to know to ensure the process is smooth sailing.
What is a Disabled Parking Permit?
Handicap parking permits, also called handicap placards, handicap permits, disabled placards, or disabled badges, are displayed in a vehicle and permit that vehicle to take advantage of certain parking privileges. These privileges can include parking in disabled parking spaces in public parking lots or parking garages, parking at a meter without paying, or parking in a space that is time-limited for longer than normally allowed.
These permits are issued in two different categories. They are:
- Permanent – People who have a long-term impairment due to a mobility issue or who are legally blind may qualify for a disabled parking permit or disabled license plate. These permanent permits are usually good for four years and must be renewed.
- Temporary – People who have mobility impairments that are only expected to last for a short amount of time may be entitled to a temporary disabled parking permit for up to six months.
Who Can Apply for a Disabled Parking Permit?
In Miami, you must have a certified health care practitioner or physician verify your eligibility for a disabled parking permit. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recognizes the following as disabilities that will entitle you to apply for a disabled parking permit:
- The need to use a wheelchair permanently
- Use of portable oxygen
- Inability to walk without the use of or assistance from a crutch, cane, prosthetic, brace, or other assistive device or without the assistance of someone else. If the assistive device restores your ability to walk without severe limitation, then you may not be eligible
- Cardiac conditions that limit your ability to function
- Breathing restrictions as a result of a lung disease
- Legal blindness
- Severe limitations in your ability to walk due to an orthopedic, neurological, or arthritic condition
In Florida, you can also apply for a permit that is valid when you travel. This “disabled frequent traveler” qualification with allow you to get a permit that can be used in a car at your destination.
How to Apply
To apply for a disabled parking permit, you first need to get an application. You can do this by printing one off from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website, or you can pick it up at the county tax collector’s office.
If you want to get a license plate for a permanent disability instead of a placard, then you need a different application. You can also find this on the website or at the county tax collector’s offices.
After you complete the forms, you’ll need your doctor to fill out part of the form as well. They must be able to certify your condition and note whether it is a temporary or permanent condition.
In Florida, the following health care practitioners can complete the form:
- Licensed Physician’s Assistant
- Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
- Podiatric or Osteopathic Physician
- Optometrist, but only in regard to limitation due to eyesight
For a temporary disability, you’ll pay a fee of $15 for a handicap placard. If you find you need to renew your temporary placard and it’s within one year of the first being issued, then you won’t need to pay another fee. But if it’s beyond one year, then you’ll need to plan to pay the fee again.
For a permanent placard, there is no fee.
There are several ways to submit a completed application. Keep a copy for yourself, then you can:
- Submit by mail – Send the fee (if applicable) and completed form to the county license plate agency
- Submit in person – Take everything listed above in person to county license plate agency
If you have questions, call ahead to the license plate agency.
The Dos and Don’ts
It’s important to understand what your disabled parking permit allows you to do in Miami. Keep in mind that a handicap permit, whether temporary or permanent, allows you to park:
- In specially marked disabled parking spaces
- For free for up to four hours at parking meters
You may still be charged for airport extended parking, as well as parking fees in lots used for entertainment, such as sports arenas and convention centers.
Handicap parking permits are incredibly helpful for those who need them, so if you’re a Miami resident who could benefit from one, take the steps you need to get it done!