If you’re experiencing a loss of mobility or difficulty walking, you may wonder, “Do I qualify for a disabled parking permit?” The answer is most likely yes! Here are the steps you’ll need to take to help you get your hands on that handicap parking placard.
Determine if you have a disability
Limited mobility is essentially one of the universal qualifying conditions for disabled parking, so if you need assistance when walking, you’ll most likely be qualified to apply for a disabled parking permit. If you’re unable to walk short distances without an assistive device (like a cane, walker, scooter, or wheelchair), you’re considered to have a disability. Some states say you’ll qualify if you can’t walk more than 50 feet without taking a rest. In other states, you’ll qualify if you can’t walk more than 200 feet. Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) website for their specific requirements.
The reason for your limited mobility can be from a wide variety of conditions, including cardiac conditions, asthma, COPD, arthritis, loss of or limited use of your legs, and more. If you can demonstrate to your doctor that walking unassisted is difficult or impossible for you, they’ll be able to vouch for you to have a handicap parking permit.
Figure out which placard you should apply for
Before you do a consultation with your doctor or with a physician online, you should determine if your trouble walking is from a temporary or a permanent disability. In most states, there are three types of handicap parking permits: temporary placards, which are usually valid for up to six months; permanent placards for people who will need their permit for more than a year; and permanent license plates for people with long-term disabilities.
Get started on the application process
To begin the disabled parking application process, head to your state’s DMV website for the proper paperwork. You’ll need to enter your name, address, driver’s license number, telephone number, and email address. If you’re applying for a permanent license plate, you’ll need to add your car’s make, model, year, and VIN. The form will also require your signature.
Obtain a physician’s signature
You’ll need a licensed medical professional to sign your application. This person can be a physician, podiatrist, optometrist, physician’s assistant, or advanced practice nurse. You’ll need to demonstrate to the physician that you’re having difficulty walking or need assistance when walking. Some states require you to have the doctor’s signature notarized unless your doctor provides an original prescription with the application. Along with the signature, the medical professional will have to note if your disability is temporary or permanent.
If you don’t have a physician that can help you complete the application, you can head to Dr. Handicap. The site will connect you with a licensed physician in your state to help you complete the process. They’ll do a quick video consultation with you to go over your medical history and symptoms and verify your qualifying conditions for disabled parking, and then set you up with a completed and signed form for the DMV that’s emailed directly to you.
Pay your fees and submit your application
In most states, applying for a handicap parking permit is free. Usually, temporary placards are around $5. If you’re getting a handicap license plate, you’ll be responsible for your typical vehicle registration fees.
Then you can send in your completed application with a photo ID (and a check, money order, or cashier’s check if you’re paying any fees) to the DMV. You can also head to the DMV office nearest you to submit your application in person. Some states allow you to drop off or mail your forms to county tax assessor-collector’s offices as well. It’s always good to call ahead of time if you’re planning on going to these offices or to the DMV – that way you’ll make sure you’re heading to the right place and you can make an appointment if necessary.
Pay attention to disabled parking rules
When you receive your handicap parking permit, make sure to adhere to all of the regulations laid out by the DMV. Always remember to hang your placard up on your rearview mirror whenever you’re parked and to remove it when the vehicle is in motion. You are not permitted to share the placard with friends and family. The only time it can be used is when you’re in the car. With the placard, you’re allowed to park:
- In any parking places with the wheelchair symbol
- Next to blue curbs designated for people with disabilities
- Next to green curbs (at all times, even if there’s a posted time limit)
- In metered parking spaces at no cost to you
- In areas designated for residents or merchants (without needing a different permit)
Even with your placard, you’re not permitted to park:
- In spaces with cross-hatched patterns next to wheelchair-accessible parking places
- Next to red, yellow, or white curbs
Make sure you never lend your placard out and always keep it in your possession. If you fail to follow these regulations, you could face getting a fine or be charged with civil penalties. The DMV also has the right to cancel your placard so that it’s invalid.
If you’re having trouble walking, getting a handicap parking permit can make your life a lot easier. If you’re able to park closer to retail stores or businesses, you’ll be more likely to have the energy and stamina to take care of your errands. Without a disabled parking permit, you’re stuck having to walk long distances – and by the time you reach your destination, you’re too exhausted to accomplish much. So follow these steps to qualify for a disabled parking permit today!