If you qualify for and then get your handicap parking permit, you’ll have better access to more convenient parking places everywhere you go. For someone with a disability, this can be a lifesaver, helping you save your energy for other tasks instead of reducing your stamina just by walking across a large parking lot. It’s actually a fairly easy process to get a handicap placard – but in case you’re brand-new at this, here’s everything you need to know if you’re wondering, “How do I get a disabled parking permit in 2019?”
What are qualifying conditions?
Qualifying conditions are medical issues that are classified as disabilities in the U.S. These disabilities, whether you’re suffering from an injury or an illness, mean that your mobility is affected in such a way that you could benefit greatly from closer parking places. So, what are the qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit in 2019? They vary from state to state, but generally they consist of:
- The inability to walk more than 200 feet without stopping to rest
- The inability to walk safely without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device
- Needing to use portable oxygen
- Being restricted by lung disease (such as COPD, lung cancer, asthma, etc.)
- Being restricted by a cardiac condition so that your functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV, according to the standards set by the American Heart Association
- Limited ability to walk due to arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic conditions
Some states also recognize vision and hearing problems as disabilities, as well as the loss of use or complete loss of any limb. If you’re not sure whether the condition you’re experiencing would qualify as a disability in your state, your best option is to go to the website of the Department of Motor Vehicles that operates out of your specific state. You can also find more information by heading to our breakdown of information by state.
How do I qualify for a disabled parking permit?
In order for 2019 disabled parking permit qualifying conditions to be valid, you’ll need to receive a medical certification from a licensed health professional. States accept these from licensed physicians (including chiropractors, podiatrists, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, optometrists, and ophthalmologists). Your doctor will need to verify that you do have a medical condition with symptoms that make it difficult for you to get around and that you can benefit from obtaining a handicap placard. They’ll typically need to help you complete a section of your application (verifying your condition and including things like their license number and signature). It’s okay if you don’t have a medical professional to turn to – Dr. Handicap can connect you virtually with a licensed physician to help get you started on the medical certification process. And you don’t even have to leave your home to get what you need to apply for your permit!
What are the rules surrounding disabled parking permits?
There are a few things to keep in mind when you get a handicap parking permit in 2019. You’ll first need to determine whether you need a temporary or permanent placard. There are sometimes small fees for getting temporary placards (which generally need to be submitted along with your application). Once you’ve got your placard in hand, you’ll need to renew it once it expires. These expiration dates vary from state to state (but are typically every couple of years). In some states, you do need to reapply, but aren’t required to go through another medical certification; other states do require you to get a medical professional involved again. There are also some states that don’t require you to take any action at all – they’ll just mail you a new placard when your old one has expired. To make sure you’re taking the right steps and are keeping your permit up to date, check out your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website for specific renewal practices.
Aside from needing to renew your handicap placard, there are a few regulations you need to follow. First, always hang your placard from your rearview mirror when your vehicle is parked. It needs to be clearly displayed so that parking or law enforcement can see you are entitled to park in handicap parking places. Then, you also have to be sure to remove the placard when you’re driving – it can’t be hanging while the car is in motion. Perhaps the most important rule to remember is that you are prohibited from letting anyone (even friends and family) borrow your placard. It is intended for your use only, whether you’re the driver or just a passenger in the vehicle. Either way, the placard may only be used when you are present. Some states are extremely serious about this offense (with some charges of up to 60 days in jail, or a $500 fine!). As long as you’re using your placard the way it was intended, you should be fine.
There are also some extra bonuses to having a handicap placard in 2019. Some states allow free parking at parking meters, while others allow you to park for any length of time in a space, even if there’s a posted time limit. Just make sure to do your research before you hit the road so you know the exact restrictions throughout your city and state. As long as you have a legitimate qualifying condition and you go through the proper application process, you’ll be all set to use your disabled parking permit in 2019.