Disabled parking permit holders tend to have a lot of questions about whether or not disabled parking is always free. We often get asked questions such as… Where do I have to pay for disabled parking? Can I park for free at a meter with a handicap placard? Do all states have the same disabled parking rules?

Let’s dive in to answer all these questions and more.

Is Disabled Parking Free?

The answer to this question is that it depends on which state you’re in and the type of disabled parking you’re talking about.

Certain forms of handicap parking are free for disabled permit holders in all states. However, not all states allow free handicap parking across the board.

Dr Handicap - disabled parking sign
Image by Shutterbug75 on Pixabay: Is disabled parking free in every state?

What Are The Rules Around Paying For Parking As A Disabled Person?

In all states, disabled parking permit holders can park in designated disabled parking spaces for free. However, not all states allow permit holders to park in metered, on-street spaces for free.

Can You Park For Free At A Meter With A Handicap Placard?

Whether or not you can park for free at a meter with a disabled parking permit depends on where you are. Some states allow permit-holders to park for free in metered spaces and others do not. Some states have no blanket rule and instead leave it up to each municipality within the state to set their own rules.

Where Do You Have To Pay For Disabled Parking?

In some states, you need to pay to park in metered, on-street spaces. In certain private parking lots, in most states, you will also need to pay to park as a disabled driver.

Disabled Parking Permits And Time-Restricted Parking

Many states allow disabled permit holders to park in time-restricted parking spaces for either unlimited time, or for an extended period of time. However, these states do not necessarily allow permit holders to park in these spaces for free.

What States Allow Free Handicap Parking?

The states that allow all disabled permit holders to park for free in metered, on-street spaces are:

  • California – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Florida – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for up to four hours.
  • Hawaii – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for two and a half hours or for the maximum time the meter allows.
  • Idaho – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Illinois – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time, except at meters with a maximum time of 30 minutes or less.
  • Kansas – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces free for up to 24 hours.
  • Maine – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for up to twice the maximum time allowed.
  • Minnesota – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • New Hampshire – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for free for varying periods of time decided by local municipal authorities.
  • Oregon – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time, except at meters with a maximum time of 30 minutes or less.
  • South Carolina – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Tennessee – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Texas – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Utah – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for reasonable periods of time.
  • Virginia – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for up to four hours.
  • Washington DC – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for double the maximum time allowed.
  • Washington State – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for the maximum time shown on the parking signs.
Dr Handicap - parking sign
Image by AbsolutVision on Pixabay: Several states allow disabled drivers to park for free in metered spaces.

Do States Recognize Disabled Parking Permits From Other States?

All American states recognize disabled parking permits issued by all other states. American disabled parking permits are also recognized in several foreign countries, including:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • All European Union countries

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The most common qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit 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, or another person.
  • 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
  • Being an amputee
  • A neurological, arthritic, or orthopedic condition
  • Legal blindness

How Do You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange an online consultation with a licensed medical professional through Dr. Handicap. Once the medical professional has verified your disability, they will provide support to help you to access your state’s disabled parking program and submit your disabled parking permit application.

Featured image by Jonathan J. Castellon on Unsplash