Mental health conditions, including depression, are on the rise in America today. Depression is a debilitating condition that can have serious negative effects on a person’s life. But is depression a qualifying condition for a handicap parking permit? Let’s investigate.
Who Qualifies For A Handicap Parking Permit?
Handicap parking permits are available to any person, or caregiver to a person, who has a disability that reduces their mobility and makes traveling by vehicle or public transport difficult or impossible.
A handicap permit can be used by its disabled holder in any vehicle in which they travel. If a caregiver or organization holds a handicap permit, it can only be used when a disabled person is traveling in the vehicle.
Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Handicap Permit The Same In Every State?
The qualifying conditions for a handicap permit are not the same in every state. Each state has its own list of qualifying conditions. However, the list is very similar in all states, and each state recognizes handicap permits issued by all other states.
Is Depression A Disability?
Depression can sometimes be considered a disability under the law if it is severe and debilitating enough. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), depression is considered a psychiatric disability.
The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. It considers depression to be a significant mood disorder that’s known to interfere with daily activities, but depression must substantially limit a major life activity to qualify as a disability.
Many physical disabilities that commonly necessitate handicap parking permit usage correlate with depression. It is common for people to experience depression when they first become disabled, for example. Once a newly disabled person learns to live with their disability, their depression can lessen, or go away completely.
Can You Get A Handicap Parking Permit For Mental Illness?
“Mental illness” is a very broad term that includes a large array of disparate conditions. It is defined as “a health condition that involves changes in emotion, thinking or behavior, or a combination of these”.
While no mental health condition is, in and of itself, a qualifying condition for a handicap parking permit, it is possible to qualify for a handicap permit due to physical symptoms of conditions that fall under this umbrella term, as well as for conditions that involve a mental component along with a physical component.
To get a handicap parking permit, an applicant’s mental illness would need to considerably curtail their mobility and/or ability to use public transport.
Is Depression A Qualifying Condition For A Handicap Parking Permit?
Depression is not, in and of itself, a qualifying condition for handicap parking, and it does not appear on any state’s list of qualifying conditions. However, there are some gray areas that may enable a person who suffers with depression to make a case that they should qualify for handicap parking.
Almost all states have ‘Cannot walk 200 ft without needing to stop to rest’ as a qualifying condition. And several states, including New York State, have the following qualifying condition: “Any other physical or mental impairment not previously listed which constitutes an equal degree of disability, and imposes unusual hardship in the use of public transportation and prevents the person from getting around without great difficulty.”
If a person’s depression is of a type or severity that it prevents them from walking 200 feet without needing to stop, and/or it makes using public transport unusually difficult and prevents them from getting around without great difficulty, it is possible that they may qualify for handicap parking.
What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Handicap Parking Permit?
The qualifying conditions for a handicap parking permit are all conditions that cause limited mobility. Illnesses that do not cause limited mobility are not qualifying conditions for a handicap permit.
The most common qualifying conditions for handicap parking are:
- An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
- Any condition that necessitates the use of a walking aid such as a wheelchair, crutch, cane, prosthetic device.
- A heart condition classified Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
- Lung disease
- Any condition that necessitates the use of a portable oxygen tank
- Neurological, arthritic, or orthopedic condition that severely inhibits mobility
- Legal blindness
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Any other physical or mental impairment not previously listed which constitutes an equal degree of disability, and imposes unusual hardship in the use of public transportation and prevents the person from getting around without great difficulty
How Do You Make A Handicap Parking Permit Application?
The easiest way to apply for a handicap parking permit is to set up an online consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap. Once your condition has been verified the medical professional will fill in the relevant sections of a handicap parking application and email it to you.