What Happens If I Don’t Renew My Disabled Parking Permit?

A disabled parking permit is not a perk of having a chronic disease or a painful condition, but a necessity to help you go through the daily motions of your life with a disability or illness. To qualify for a disabled parking permit, you don’t need to be permanently disabled, but you do need to meet certain requirements in your particular state.

Here’s what you need to know about obtaining a disabled parking permit and what happens if you don’t renew it once it expires.

Who Needs a Disabled Parking Permit?

Many people find handicap parking permits helpful when living with a disability or health condition. Each state has different criteria to determine who needs a permit, usually found at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.

Some of the health conditions that can qualify you for a disabled parking permit include:

  • Heart disease
  • Impaired mobility
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological impairments
  • Lung disease
  • Vision problems such as partial sightedness or low vision at night
  • A disease or disability that impairs your ability to use your legs
  • Loss of a limb such as one leg or arm

It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if you think you could benefit from a disabled parking permit.

Invisible Disabilities

Of course, not all disabilities are identifiable at first glance. It’s important to remember that handicap parking permits aren’t only for those who utilize wheelchairs or another mobility device. Other conditions that may qualify for a disability parking permit include:

  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Organ transplants
  • Brain injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Hidden prosthetic devices
  • Cancer treatment
  • Recent surgery
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
Dr.Handicap - handicap parking sign

A Tale of Two Permits

There are two types of handicap parking permits you can qualify for. They are:

Permanent Permits

These permits are issued for periods over one year but cannot be used for more than five years. Renewal must be every five years if your disability was certified as permanent on your original application. They are often provided to people suffering from conditions or disabilities discussed above.

Temporary Permits

These permits are issued for periods of less than one year. In most states, when you apply for this permit, the certification from the medical professional must include when the disability occurred as well as when you are expected to recover.

You may qualify in your state for a temporary disability parking permit if you have one of these conditions:

  • Leg injuries such as broken bones or severe sprains
  • Pregnancy if on modified bed rest or some other restriction
  • Recovering from certain surgeries such a back surgery
  • Undergoing cancer treatments
  • Conditions that require you to use a mobility aid even if only in the short term

To understand which you need, discuss it with your doctor or other medical professional treating your condition.

How to Get a Permit

If you believe you would benefit from a temporary or permanent disability parking permit, then the best place to start is with your health care provider. They can help to advise you about whether your condition would qualify you. The DMV requires verification of your disability or condition from your doctor or other health care professionals who are treating you. This can include a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or optometrist.

Once you’ve gotten what you need from your health care provider, you can then visit your state’s DMV to find out more. Many states allow you to apply online or make an appointment at the DMV for review. In either scenario, you must fill out the appropriate paperwork and be able to provide all the information it requires.

The cost varies between states. Some charge a small fee, while others provide permits free of charge.

Dr Handicap - ticket on car

How to Renew

Your disabled parking permit may have an expiration date. If it does, then you need to take steps to renew it. You can do this by:

  1. Getting a renewal application from your local DMV. Depending on the state in which you live, you may be able to use the old application, or you may need to fill out a new renewal application.
  2. Completing the application. Renewal applications do not require you to see a medical professional to complete the form, but you do need to provide all other requested information such as your name, address, license number, car make and year, and license plate number.
  3. Submitting the form. The application form indicates where the form needs to be sent. Don’t forget to check if there’s a renewal fee that must be included.

What Happens If You Don’t Renew?

Just as with your driver’s license and license plates, handicap parking permits must be renewed. Failure to do so means that your permit expires, which then means you can be ticketed for parking in a space reserved for someone with a valid disabled parking permit.

Sometimes life happens and you may forget to renew it by the expiration date. What happens then?

Most states have a grace period in which you can renew your disabled parking permit, even if it has expired. Contact your local DMV to find out what the grace period is and if there are any fees associated with renewing your disability parking permit or if any additional paperwork is required. If too much time has passed between the time your permit expired and when you go to renew it, you may need to complete the application process over again.

Handicap parking permits simply make life easier. If you need one, get one. And if you get one, try not to sweat it too much if you forget to renew. The process is simple, and your health care team is there to help you make it happen.