All You Need to Know About Disabled Parking in New York State

Dr Handicap - New York City

New York State has a few idiosyncrasies in its disabled parking program that it is important to be aware of. While New York State abides fully by the dictates of federal law and the Americans With Disabilities Act, like all other states, it has its own set of circumstances and bespoke requirements, and therefore it implements some bylaws and specific legal interpretations that reflect this. There are certain details of New York State’s disabled parking program that are unique to it, and are important to bear in mind. Here is all you need to know about disabled parking in New York State.

Types of Disabled Plates and Placards Available

In New York State a person can apply for a permanent disabled parking placard or plate, or a temporary disabled placard. Disabled plates are issued for all vehicle types and are only eligible to be used on a vehicle that is registered in the name of the disabled person, although the disabled person does not need to actually have a driving license and be the person doing the driving. A person must be 16 or over to have a vehicle registered in their name, and therefore can only acquire a permanent plate from the age of 16.

A permanent disabled parking placard is available for permanently disabled people who live in New York State. Like with permanent plates, the person does not need to be a licensed driver themselves. They also do not need to own a vehicle, because their permanent placard can be used in whatever vehicle they are traveling in at any given time.

Temporary placards are available for people who are temporarily disabled, or who are visiting New York State temporarily from another jurisdiction. Temporary disabled placards in New York are valid for up to six months.

Parking permits may also be issued to any agency licensed by the state that uses vehicles primarily to transport people with qualifying disabilities.

Dr Handicap - parking

Rights of Disabled Placard Holders in New York State

Having a placard or plates for disabled parking in New York State entitles a person to park in any designated disabled parking space in the state. However, unlike in many other states, it does not automatically entitle a person to park in metered on-street spaces for free. Whether or not a disabled person can park in metered spaces for free is decided by each local jurisdiction in the state (of which there are many!), so to avoid a fine, it is crucial to contact a local jurisdiction that you will be traveling to and ascertain whether or not a disabled placard entitles you to park in metered spaces for free in that particular jurisdiction.

New York City has no on-street disabled parking spaces; it only has off-street spaces in car parks, shopping malls, office parking lots, campuses etc. But the NYC Department of Transportation issues a special City Permit to people with very severe disabilities that allows them to park in most on-street spaces in the city for free.

Qualifying Conditions

The qualifying disabilities in New York State are quite wide-ranging. They include: legal blindness, an inability to walk 200 feet without having to stop for rest, a cardiac condition (designated class III or IV by the American Heart Association), lung disease, use of a portable oxygen tank, limited use (or no use) of a leg or legs, neuromuscular dysfunction, an inability to walk due to arthritis or a neurological or orthopedic condition, and finally, any physical or mental condition that constitutes a disability and makes it very difficult for a person to get around on their own or using public transport.

A temporary disabled parking placard is available for any person who has a temporary disability or lack of mobility – for example, a temporary broken limb that requires the use of crutches or a wheelchair.


New York State requires that a person be examined by a medical doctor, osteopath, podiatrist, or optometrist. Apart from the podiatrist (who must be registered in New York State), the examining medical professional can be registered in any state. This means that a remote consultation using telemedicine is a convenient option. Once a medical professional has completed an examination, they must fill in the Medical Certification Part II section on the Application for License Plates and Parking Permits for People with Severe Disabilities form. A letter from the examining doctor on the doctor’s personal letterhead, not more than one year old, is also appropriate certification.

How To Apply

To apply for disabled parking in New York State, fill in the form Application for License Plates and Parking Permits for People With Severe Disabilities and return it to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Disabled placards are not issued by the DMV in New York State. Instead you must apply to your local appointed city, town, or village disabled placard agent. You will need to contact your city, town, or village clerk to find out which local agent issues the disabled permits in your jurisdiction.

How To Renew

Every permanent and temporary disabled parking placard has an expiration date. Placards can be renewed when the expiration date has passed. You will need to fill in a new application form in order to renew.