Qualifying For A Disabled Parking Badge: All You Need To Know

Dr Handicap - wheelchair

Figuring out the nuts and bolts of getting a handicap parking permit can be a daunting task. Rules and regulations abound, and qualifying conditions vary between states – sometimes even between localities within states. But it doesn’t have to be a prohibitively difficult undertaking, and the bit of effort required to get your disabled parking permit is well worth it, because having a parking permit can really improve your quality of life. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about qualifying for a disabled parking badge.

Disabled parking spaces have existed in the United States since the mid-1950s, although until the late 1960s they were extremely few and far between. With the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, society grew much more aware of the hardships of disadvantaged groups that were forced to exist on its peripheries. Disabled people had few special rights and very little help back in those days.

But thanks to the rise in awareness of the importance of equality and fairness in the 1960s, local authorities in various jurisdictions around the country began an attempt to make their public buildings more accessible to disabled people. However, it was only when the federal government got involved and several landmark acts were signed into law – beginning with the 1968 Architectural Barriers Act, and culminating with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 – that equal rights for disabled people, including widespread disabled parking, became enshrined in United States law.

Today, handicap parking permits are available in every American state. Disabled parking spots are very common, strategically located near all buildings, facilities, and amenities, and designed to meet the needs of people with all sorts of disabilities.

Unfortunately, the rules are still somewhat confusing. This is because federal, state, and local authorities all have their own rules and regulations. While federal law is the same in every corner of the country, each state and locality has its own specific rules about issues such as how to qualify for a disabled parking permit, and whether or not out of state permits can be used within its borders.

In reality, a lot of these differences between states are to do with minor, and often barely consequential, details. The meat and potatoes of qualifying for, acquiring, and using a U.S. disabled parking placard are extremely similar in every jurisdiction.

In order to qualify for disabled parking in America, you must be able to prove that you have a qualifying disability. Although the list of qualifying conditions is not exactly the same in each state, it is very similar, and having any one of a core group of qualifying conditions will make you eligible for a handicap parking spot in any state.

The core group of qualifying medical conditions includes: chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis; obesity; heart disease; respiratory problems and any condition that requires the use of a portable oxygen tank; being an amputee; any disability that requires the use of a wheelchair, crutches, or Zimmer frame; arthritis; lupus; poor eyesight or hearing; and acute sensitivity to sunlight. As we mentioned before, there are small variations in qualifying conditions state by state. But whether or not you qualify is also largely at the discretion of the local physician you consult with, so having any of these aforementioned conditions will almost always qualify you for a disabled parking permit.

Dr Handicap - applying for permit

You can also get a temporary handicap placard in every state. Pregnancy or a temporary illness or injury will qualify you for this. The length of time your temporary placard is valid for is up to the medical professional you consult with.

If you have a disability that you believe qualifies you for a handicap parking badge in America, the next step is to make an appointment with a health care professional. This can be done in person, over the phone, or online. Once the health care professional has examined you and determined that you do indeed qualify for a disabled parking permit, they will write you up a letter of recommendation.

Once you have your physician’s letter, you will need to send it, along with an application form, to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your specific state. You can download the application form and post it (along with your doctor’s letter) to the DMV offices in your state, or you can visit the DMV offices in person and submit your application by hand.

Once your application form and doctor’s letter have been received by the DMV, they will process it, and one or two weeks hence you will be sent your disabled parking permit. You can choose to use a badge, or to get a special license plate made up. The advantage of a badge is that it is mobile, so you can also use it when you are traveling in somebody else’s vehicle.

So that is all you need to know about qualifying for a disabled parking badge. It is a process that takes a little bit of time and effort. But it’s well worth it!