The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. It was designed specifically to protect and aid citizens with disabilities and to make sure that they are not discriminated against. It was a landmark Act with many far-reaching benefits. Being eligible for a disabled parking permit is one such benefit. Since the Act, people with a disability who are shown to be eligible for this special parking permit have been able to make use of designated handicap parking spaces in public parking lots. These parking spots are required to be a certain size – bigger than a standard parking space – and are also required to be within easy access of the building or facility that the parking lot serves. Disabled parking permits certainly make life a little more manageable for people with disabilities, who can use them in their own car when driving, or when they’re a passenger in anyone’s car.
The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit vary a little from state to state, but there are certain guidelines that are valid everywhere. These include:
- If you need assistance with walking – e.g. a stick, cane, crutches, or a wheelchair;
- If you require portable oxygen when walking;
- If you have any prosthetic limbs;
- If you have limited vision or are registered blind. (In this case, you obviously wouldn’t be able to drive yourself, but you can still acquire a handicap parking placard, which can be used in any car in which you’re a passenger.)
These disabilities clearly cover a wide range of conditions, and not everyone is affected in the same way, even if their disabilities appear to be similar. Let’s first take a look at illnesses or conditions that limit the use of your arm or arms. If you have had to have an arm amputated or have had an arm deformity since birth, you would almost certainly qualify for a disabled parking permit anywhere in the United States. In addition, some states will allow you to qualify if you have a joint disorder or muscular spasms – carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, for example – but other states don’t allow this.
Limited or restricted vision is another gray area. If you suffer from restricted vision but have been approved for a driving license, you will almost certainly qualify for a disabled parking badge. Each state has different vision requirements, however; some will require a visual acuity of 20/200 or less (with correcting lenses), but some are less strict.
Loss of mobility – which can be due to a variety of reasons – is one of the main qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit. You might be tested to see how far you can walk without resting, or without some form of help. The distance you will be required to walk varies from state to state. In some areas, if you can’t walk more than 50 feet without stopping, you qualify for a handicap parking placard. Other states, however, will only allow you to qualify if the distance is 200 feet. Quite a big difference!
If you suffer from a cardiac condition, you might assume that you would definitely qualify. However, cardiac conditions cover several diagnoses, which include high blood pressure, heart disease, and a history of stroke. The American Heart Association has come up with four different categories for the range of cardiac disorders. If you have mild cardiac symptoms and are still able to be physically active, then you are most likely to be in Class 1 or Class 2, and may not qualify for a disabled parking badge. If, however, your condition impacts significantly on your life and you are unable to take part in normal physical activity, then you will be in Class 3 or Class 4. With the latter two classes, you will undoubtedly qualify for a disabled parking permit. All illnesses and conditions are, of course, open to an individual specialist’s interpretation.
A lung or pulmonary disorder is another disability that affects people differently. If you have a condition such as cystic fibrosis, emphysema, COPD, or asthma, you should check if you’d qualify for a disabled parking permit. It would depend on the severity of your condition, but if your breathing is affected to the extent that you can’t walk the required distance, then you should qualify.
What is important is that you check out the qualifying conditions that pertain to your own state. These can be found on the relevant page on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. We can help you by carrying out a non-stressful assessment of your health, which would be done by one of our in-house specialists. This can be carried out via a video link, without the need for you travel. If you qualify, we can then help you apply for your disabled parking permit from the DMV. If you think we can be of assistance, contact us online today.