Parking Solutions For People With Disabilities: Tips And Tricks For US Drivers

Parking can be a hassle for anyone, but for people with disabilities, it often poses unique challenges. Finding an accessible parking spot close to your destination can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. In the United States, there are regulations and solutions in place to make parking more manageable for individuals with disabilities.

Today we’ll explore some useful tips and tricks to help US drivers with disabilities navigate the parking landscape more smoothly. Whether you’ve been wondering about Rhode Island handicap parking regulations, Vermont handicap parking permit requirements, or anything in between, we’ll cover all the general rules and info you need to know about disabled parking in the US!

Understanding Disability Parking Permits

Before we dive into parking solutions, it’s essential to understand the various disability parking permits available in the US. These permits grant individuals with disabilities certain parking privileges. The two primary types of permits are:

  1. Accessible Parking Permit (Placard): This is a portable permit that can be hung from the rearview mirror or placed on the dashboard. It is issued to individuals with temporary or permanent disabilities and has a specific expiration date.
  2. Disabled Person Parking License Plate: This license plate is issued to individuals with permanent disabilities. It is affixed to the front and/or rear of the vehicle and may be valid for the life of the vehicle or may need to be renewed.

To obtain either of these permits, you’ll need to contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency. The application process typically requires documentation from a medical professional confirming your disability (Dr Handicap can help with this!). Requirements differ from state to state – the Wyoming handicap parking application process will generally be different to the one for a West Virginia handicap parking tag, so be sure to follow your state’s specific guidelines.

Choosing the Right Parking Spot

Once you have your disability parking permit, the next step is to choose the right parking spot. Here are some tips to help you find the most suitable spot:

  1. Look for the International Symbol of Access: This blue and white symbol, often painted on the ground or displayed on a sign, indicates that the parking spot is reserved for people with disabilities. This symbol will generally look the same nationwide – from North Dakota to New Mexico, handicap parking signage is pretty uniform, which makes it easy to locate a spot wherever you are.
  1. Choose Spots Close to the Entrance: Whenever possible, select parking spots located near the entrance of the building or facility you’re visiting. This reduces the distance you need to travel.
  2. Consider Accessible Features: Some parking spaces are specifically designated for vans with wheelchair ramps. If you use a wheelchair or have a larger accessible vehicle, look for these spots, as they provide more room to maneuver.
  3. Avoid Obstacles: Be cautious of parking spots next to carts, shopping cart corrals, or other obstacles that might restrict your ability to enter or exit your vehicle safely.

Understanding Time Limits and Regulations

Parking regulations can vary from one location to another, so it’s crucial to understand the specific rules in your area. Here are some common considerations:

  1. Time Limits: Some accessible parking spots have time limits, so be mindful of how long you plan to stay. These limits are often designed to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the spots.
  2. Payment Requirements: In some places, accessible parking may be free, while in others, you may still need to pay for parking. Always check local signage for payment information.
  3. Parking Meters: If you need to use a parking meter, many areas provide exemptions or reduced rates for people with disabilities. Look for information on the meter or check with local authorities for details.
  4. Special Permits: Some states offer additional permits for individuals with severe disabilities that may allow for extended parking privileges. Check with your state’s DMV to see if you qualify for any special permits.

Utilize Parking Apps and Technology

Technology can be a valuable ally when it comes to finding accessible parking spaces. Several apps and tools can help you locate parking spots with ease:

  1. Accessible Parking Apps: Apps like “Accessible Parking” or “Parking Mobility” provide information about handicap parking spaces in your area, including their locations and availability.
  2. Smart Parking Garages: Many parking garages in urban areas now offer smart technology that can help you find available parking spaces quickly. These systems often include accessible parking spots.
  3. GPS and Navigation Apps: Popular navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze can also help you identify parking facilities with accessible parking spots.
  4. Parking Reservations: In some cities, you can reserve accessible parking spots in advance. Check with local parking providers or use platforms like SpotHero or ParkWhiz to make reservations.

Know Your Rights and Advocate for Change

It’s crucial to know your rights as a person with a disability when it comes to parking. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines specific requirements for accessible parking, including the number of spaces required based on the size of the parking lot.

If you encounter issues with inaccessible parking or violations of ADA regulations, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Report Violations: If you notice parking spaces that are not compliant with ADA regulations, report them to the local authorities or property management. They may not be aware of the issues and can rectify them.
  2. Advocate for Change: Get involved with disability advocacy groups in your community. They can help you push for improvements in accessible parking and ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are upheld.
  3. Know the ADA Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the ADA regulations regarding accessible parking. This knowledge can be empowering when advocating for change or addressing violations.

Be a Considerate Parked Driver

Lastly, it’s important to be a considerate parked driver, not just when parking but also when using accessible parking spaces. Here are some etiquette tips:

  1. Never Use Accessible Spaces Without a Permit: Even if you’re running a quick errand, it’s essential to have a valid handicap parking permit to use these spaces legally.
  2. Leave Room for Ramps and Lifts: If you have an accessible vehicle with a ramp or lift, ensure there’s enough space around your vehicle for it to deploy safely.
  3. Don’t Block Access Aisles: Access aisles are the striped areas next to accessible parking spaces that allow room for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles. Never park in these aisles.
  4. Keep Your Permit Visible: Hang your accessible parking permit from the rearview mirror or display it on the dashboard so that it’s easily visible.

Parking solutions for people with disabilities in the US are essential for ensuring equal access to public spaces. By understanding the various permits available, choosing the right parking spot, being aware of time limits and regulations, utilizing technology, knowing your rights, advocating for change, and practicing considerate parking etiquette, you can navigate the parking landscape with greater ease and accessibility. Accessible parking is not just a convenience; it’s a fundamental right that should be respected and protected for everyone.

If you’re looking for more info on disabled parking throughout the US, Dr Handicap has you covered with insights into everything from Kentucky handicap parking requirements to South Dakota handicap parking placard renewal on our blog!

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What Is The Best Car For A Wheelchair User?

Wheelchairs help many people to remain independent – but a big part of that independence comes from accessing transportation that can accommodate your wheelchair. That’s why it’s so important for wheelchair users to find a vehicle that you not only like, but that’s accessible too.

The good news is that there are many cars on the market today that are accessible to those in wheelchairs. Here are some of the best cars for wheelchair users that you might want to consider.

The Benefits Of Each Car Type For Wheelchair Users

If you’ve already started your new car search, you know that there are many choices out there. With all of the things wheelchair users have to take into consideration, there are definitely benefits to each car type on the market today. Here’s a breakdown:


These are a great all-around vehicle for wheelchair users since they have so much room. You can find them at a variety of price points, and they provide quick access and have high safety ratings. You can get a minivan with either a side or rear entry, too, which is a definite bonus for ease of use when out and about with your wheelchair. A minivan is one of the best cars for wheelchair transfers, too.

Full-size vans

Most full-size vans will come with a lift instead of a ramp. These systems can be a lot more expensive than other types of cars, but they have a lot of room, which some people need not only to accommodate their wheelchair but their family as well.


This type of car is very popular since it is great for off-road driving and driving in inclement weather. An SUV can be more expensive than other options, but does tend to be much roomier than a minivan, with a lot of cargo space.


Cars are normally the most affordable option but offer the least amount of extra space. However, they’re low to the ground, which is good for transferring. They’re easy to handle, too, which makes them a great option for new drivers.


Trucks are powerful and great for towing, but may not be the best option for wheelchair users since they’re high off the ground. The wheelchair, once stored in the back, can also be exposed to the elements.

Dr Handicap - disabled drivers
Image by Why Kei on Unsplash: Wondering what cars can take a wheelchair? Let’s investigate.

What is the best car for wheelchairs?

Let’s take a look at some specific models of the best wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the market right now.

Ford C-Max

This car has plenty of room for both passengers and drivers. It features high, wide doors to give wheelchair users plenty of space to transfer and a lot of room in the back for mobility scooters or wheelchairs.

The C-Max can also be adapted for wheelchair users by adding seat lifts, wheelchair hoists, pedals, and hand controls. Plus, it’s relatively affordable, which is always a bonus!

Jeep Grand Cherokee

If you like to have a little oomph in your engine, you can’t go wrong with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This small SUV can be fitted with power seats, tie-downs, running boards, and lifts for wheelchair users thanks to Chrysler’s Automobility Program. Conversions under this program qualify the owner for a reimbursement for up to $1,000, which is a nice bonus.

Subaru Forester

This small SUV is one of the most popular cars on the market, for both wheelchair users and non-wheelchair users. But for those in a wheelchair in particular, this SUV offers a lot of safety and comfort. It comes standard with all-wheel drive and automatic transmission, and is one of the most dependable SUVs you can find year after year.

Every Subaru can undergo modifications from the factory to make it more accessible, such as foot or hand control and pedal extensions. The hatchback also makes it easy to store your wheelchair.

Hyundai Sonata

This is a simple but dependable car for wheelchair users. It’s a midsize car that is reliable and comes with a great warranty. It’s easy to access since it’s low to the ground, and comes with features such as a smart system so you’ll never have to ask for direction again.

Dr Handicap - Toyota
Image by Dima Fedorov on Unsplash: What is the best car for wheelchairs? That comes down to your personal needs as a wheelchair user.

Honda Odyssey

If you’re in the market for a minivan, the Odyssey is one of the most reliable you can find. It gets great fuel economy and is easy to handle. Even though it’s a minivan, the floors are low for ease of entry and it can be modified easily for wheelchair users.

Kia Soul

If you’re looking for a car that’s a little quirky, then the boxy Kia Soul fits the bill. It looks compact from the outside but is actually quite roomy on the inside, with high ceilings and low floors. It also has wide doors for easy entry and exit. Plus, the low price makes it affordable for almost anyone.

If you’re looking for a new car, this list should get you off to a good start to finding the best car for a wheelchair user!

Featured image by Marianne Bos on Unsplash

Are There Any Disability Tax Deductions For Wheelchair-Accessible Vans?

In 2020, there are plenty of excellent, state-of-the-art wheelchair-accessible vans on the market. These vans make traveling in a wheelchair, either as a driver or passenger, comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.

Options abound when it comes to making a van wheelchair-accessible. You can buy a purpose-built wheelchair van, or you can adapt a van that was not purpose-built for wheelchair users.

Wheelchair-accessible vans are not a luxury, however. For most wheelchair users, or people who care for a wheelchair user, a wheelchair-accessible van is truly essential. For many  wheelchair users, a wheelchair-accessible van is an indispensable tool and a must-have to live a comfortable and independent life.

But wheelchair-accessible vans, either purpose-built or adapted, do not come cheap. The technology is life-changing, but it is also expensive. Disabled wheelchair users and their carers incur a lot of extra costs that non-wheelchair users do not have to worry about.

This means that as a wheelchair user you need to be savvy and clued-in about where and how you can save money. Major savings can come in the form of tax deductions. A lot of medical expenses are tax-deductible, so you can save a lot of money by educating yourself on your tax entitlements.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair-accessible van
Image by StockSnap on Pixabay: Are wheelchair-accessible van adaptations tax-deductible?

How Do I Make My Van Wheelchair-Accessible?

Many people choose to buy a purpose-built wheelchair-accessible van. But for many others – for example, people who are newly disabled – converting their current van to make it wheelchair-accessible is a good option.

There are lots of excellent adaptations you can make to a van to make it wheelchair-accessible, and most of these adaptations are tax-deductible. The most common adaptations people make to make their van wheelchair-accessible are:

  • Raised roof
  • Dropped floors
  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Transfer seats

What Are The Disability Tax Deductions For Handicap Drivers?

As a handicap driver you are entitled to various tax deductions. Essential medical expenses are tax-deductible once they are above 7.5% of your gross income. This means you add up all of your deductible medical expenses, and the amount of the total that is above 7.5% of your gross income is deductible.

What Tax Deductions Are Available For Wheelchair-Accessible Vans?

The most common deductions for wheelchair-accessible vans are essential adaptations, and a portion of the cost of a purpose-built wheelchair-accessible van.

Purpose-built wheelchair-accessible vans are partly tax-deductible. The cost of the wheelchair-accessible van that is above the cost of a similar van without wheelchair-accessible features is tax-deductible.

The most common tax-deductible adaptations to make a van wheelchair-accessible are:

  • Electric hand controls
  • Left-side accelerator pedal
  • Pedal and steering-wheel extensions
  • Raised roof
  • Dropped floors
  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Transfer seats

How Do I Apply For Disability Tax Deductions For A Wheelchair-Accessible Van?

Register your tax-deductible medical expenses on your tax return when you submit it to the IRS each year in April. On each year’s tax return, include the tax-deductible expenses from that year. This expenses total is then taken off your gross income and you only pay tax on the reduced income amount.

Who Is Eligible For Disability Tax Deductions For Wheelchair-Accessible Vans?

Tax deductions for wheelchair vans and van adaptations are available to the disabled person, spouse, or caregiver that paid the tax-deductible expense.

What Other Travel Expenses Can I Claim A Tax Deduction On As A Disabled Driver?

As a disabled driver you can also claim for travel costs that accrue from essential medical related travel. This can include gas, parking fees, and toll fees that are spent on the wary to and from medical appointments.

Dr Handicap - calculator
Image by Shutterbug75 on Pixabay: You can apply for disability tax deductions on your IRS tax return.

How Else Can I Save Money As A Disabled Driver?

A great way to save money as a disabled driver is by getting a disabled parking permit. A disabled permit enables its owner to park in designated disabled parking spaces. This is incredibly helpful and a great money-saver.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The qualifying conditions to get a disabled parking permit change slightly state by state. But in all states, being a wheelchair user will qualify you to hold a disabled parking permit.

How Do I Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?

To apply for a disabled parking permit, arrange a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap. Once the medical professional verifies your disability they will sign and fill in the relevant sections of a DMV application form and email it directly to you.

The government is there to give you the help you deserve, as a disabled person, in the form of tax deductions and disabled parking permits. So don’t miss out on what you are legally entitled to!

Featured image by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels

Will Medicare Pay For A Wheelchair Access Van?

Medicare helps a lot of people, especially those with disabilities. Still, it changes quite frequently and what was once covered may not be covered anymore.

Many people with mobility issues need a van to transport themselves and their equipment where they need to go. But this is not an inexpensive purchase. The question many people want to know is: will Medicare pay for a wheelchair access van? Read on to find out more!

Who Does Medicare Cover?

In the United States, Medicare is a health program for people over the age of 65 and people under that age with a disability. It provides healthcare coverage so you can see a doctor and receive medication. The real question for those with disabilities is: will it help to cover the things needs to improve your personal mobility?

Dr Handicap - health care
Image by Bill Oxford on Unsplash: Will Medicare pay for a wheelchair access van? Maybe – if you have Part C.

Will Medicare Pay For A Wheelchair Accessible Van?

Medicare is made up of four parts and each part has a separate function. These parts are:

  • Part A – Covers skilled nursing care, hospice, and hospital services
  • Part B – Covers outpatient services
  • Part C – Also called Medicare Advantage; allows a patient to choose a health care plan with a private health care provider and may help with the costs associated with transportation (but you’ll need to check with your provider)
  • Part D – Covers prescriptions

There’s no guarantee that Part C will help with any costs associated with a new van. As you can see, Parts A, B, and D have no coverage for mobility aids such as a handicap accessible van.

Will Medicare Help Pay For A Wheelchair Lift On A Vehicle?

The answer to this question is, unfortunately, no. While many people depend on Medicare to help cover their health care costs, it does not deem mobility devices as a covered expense. Medicare is not meant to be a full-coverage option of health care for most people. Instead, it is meant to be a foundation from which you can build a plan that helps to cover your health care costs.

Does Medicare Cover Power Wheelchairs or Scooters?

Power wheelchairs and scooters are classified under Medicare as power-operated vehicles. That’s not the same as a personal mobility vehicle, which is what they consider a handicap accessible van. Medicare does pay for power-operated vehicles, such as a power wheelchair. But even with a prescription for durable medical equipment from your treating physician, Medicare will not cover a personal mobility vehicle.

If you’re looking to get a power-operated vehicle, it’s important to know that a prior authorization is required before it will cover the purchase. If your doctor prescribes a scooter, for example, you must have the durable medical equipment device supplier submit a request on your behalf to Medicare before it is covered. If you buy it first then apply for reimbursement, then you may find yourself in a tough spot.

What About Medicare’s Medigap Coverage?

Medicare offers something called Medigap. This is an additional health insurance plan that can be purchased from a private health care provider that will cover things Medicare will not cover, such as deductibles and co-pays.

It’s important to note that Medigap doesn’t allow for additional coverage such as vision or dental and many won’t cover prescription drugs, either. Medigap also won’t cover accessible van purchases.

Dr Handicap - research
Image by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash: Medicare grants for wheelchair vans are out there, you simply need to do your research to find them.

Who Can Help With Accessible Van Purchases?

If you’re disabled and need an accessible van to provide transportation, there are programs out there that can help. Grants are available nationwide, as well as grants in specific states and for people with specific conditions. Doing a search for these grants may help to get you at least some of the money you need for an accessible van purchase.

A couple of options that can help pay for your accessible van include:

  • The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs has accessible van grants available for veterans
  • Special financing options from accessible van dealers

If you or someone you love is struggling to find the resources for an accessible van, Medicare may not be able to help, but there is help out there. Don’t give up if you are having issues finding assistance, because this is a problem many of those in wheelchairs must contend with, and help is available.

Featured image by Dave Kim on Unsplash

7 Things You Should Know About Disabled Parking If You’re In a Wheelchair

Millions of Americans use a wheelchair at some point in their lifetime. Some people are long-term wheelchair users, while others spend only a few weeks in one due to a temporary disability. Knowing how to park when you’re in a wheelchair, as well as your disabled parking rights, is important.

The large majority of American wheelchair users are capable of driving, especially with the impressive array of vehicle adaptations for wheelchair-using disabled drivers available today. Technology, in the form of vehicle adaptations and modifications, as well as handy smartphone apps, is making driving easier than ever for wheelchair users.

Several considerations should be taken into account when you are in a wheelchair and using disabled parking. What type of disabled parking permit should you get? What are the legal regulations regarding disabled parking spaces? How do you get in and out of your vehicle safely? What technology can you make use of as a wheelchair user? How do you apply for a disabled parking permit as a wheelchair user?

Read on for seven key things you need to know about handicap parking as a wheelchair user.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair user
Image by on Marcus Aurelius on Pexels: Disabled parking for wheelchair users can make life a whole lot easier.

1. A Wide Range Of Injuries Can Necessitate Wheelchair Usage

People need to use a wheelchair for a wide array of reasons. Some people are disabled for life, whereas others use a wheelchair for only a short period of time. Lots of disabled parking permit-holders use a wheelchair.

Needing to use a wheelchair, for any reason, is a qualifying condition in and of itself for a disabled parking permit. Some of the most common reasons that disabled parking permit-holders use a wheelchair are:

  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Broken bones
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lung disease
  • Neurological diseases
  • Orthopedic conditions

2. Several Types Of Disabled Parking Permits Are Available

Wheelchair users can avail of several different types of disabled parking permit. The exact types of permit available varies state-by-state, but all states have some versions of the following disabled parking permit variations:

  • Permanent disabled parking placard or license plate. This is for people with a long-term disability. Many wheelchair users fall into this category, such as amputees and people with a neurological disease.
  • Temporary disabled parking placard. This is for people whose disability is expected to be short-term. Wheelchair users in this category include people with broken bones and other temporary injuries, and in some states, pregnant people.
  • Disabled Veterans license plates. DV plates are for people whose disability is related to their military service.
  • Organizational placards and plates. These are for organizations that transport disabled people.

3. Wheelchair Accessible Parking Spaces Are Regulated By The ADA

The Americans With Disabilities Act covers the rules and regulations regarding universal access parking spaces. Some of the rules the ADA stipulates are:

  • There must be a certain number of disabled spaces in any parking facility. (For example, in a facility with 1–25 parking spaces there must be one disabled space, and in a facility with 26–50 spaces there must be two disabled spaces.)
  • Medical facilities must have additional disabled parking spaces.
  • Disabled spaces must connect to the shortest accessible route to the building or facility they serve.
  • Disabled spaces must be eight feet wide and van-accessible spaces must be 11 feet wide. Access aisles for either type of space must be five feet wide.
  • Disabled spaces must be clearly marked by the universal access symbol.
Dr Handicap - disabled parking place
Image by David Magalhães on Unsplash: Handicap parking spaces are regulated by the ADA.

4. It’s Important To Know How To Enter And Sit In Your Vehicle Safely

As a wheelchair driver, it’s important that you are careful at all times when getting in and out of your vehicle.

Some of the most important recommendations when getting in and out of your vehicle as a wheelchair user include:

  • If possible, get into the vehicle’s seat, which is designed for maximum crash safety.
  • If you need to stay in your wheelchair, make sure it is a WCl9-compliant wheelchair (which means it is designed for use as a vehicle seat, has a safety belt, and has been crash-tested).
  • Position your seatbelt correctly.
  • Safely anchor your wheelchair using a four-point tie-down system, whether you are sitting in the wheelchair or in the vehicle seat.

5. Vehicle Adaptations Can Make Life Easier For Disabled Drivers

Vehicle adaptations for wheelchair users are improving all the time. Some of the most useful adaptations for wheelchair users are:

  • Hand controls
  • Adaptive electronic controls
  • Wheelchair ramps and lifts
  • Lowered floors and raised roofs
  • Steering wheel extensions
  • Transfer seats

6. Smartphone Disabled Parking Apps Can Help You Find Parking

Several apps are available to make life easier for wheelchair users looking for disabled parking.

Wheelmate is an example of a useful app that helps you to find wheelchair accessible parking and restrooms near you.

7. Applying For Disabled Parking Is Easy

Getting a handicap parking permit when you’re in a wheelchair is an easy process. Simply go to Dr. Handicap and set up an online consultation with a doctor, who will verify your disability and recommend the best type of disabled parking permit for you.

They will write you a letter of recommendation and you will have your own disabled parking permit within a few weeks.

Featured image by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels