For persons with disabilities, lack of accessibility can stub the desire for independent mobility. For easy accessibility and connectivity across public spaces, such individuals can obtain handicap parking permits to use the designated spots, thus saving time and energy.
A person with a disability, both visible and invisible, can avail of a handicap parking permit to enjoy various parking privileges. Also known as a disabled parking permit, a handicap parking permit allows individuals to park in designated spots near building entrances – often accompanied by signage and colored strips – at subsidized prices. However, the law must qualify the disability of the individual.
Common conditions which legally qualify for a “disability” include:
- A heart condition or disease
- Mobility restrictions due to a lung disease
- Documented sight/visionimpairment
- Impaired mobility
- Wheelchair confinement
- A medical condition which limits your ability to move
- A disability which requires an assistive device for movement
- Use of portable oxygen
- Loss of one or both legs
Besides, there are primarily two types of parking permits, namely temporary permits and permanent permits. Each parking permit is commonly associated with a color, exemplifying specific designations and privileges. For instance, red placards permit people with temporary disabilities for a short period, usually for six months. Blue placards for people with permanent disabilities come with predefined renewal periods, usually every four years.
Individuals can apply for a handicap parking permit based on disability and exert the benefits accordingly.
How to apply for a handicap parking permit
Eligibility criteria for a Handicap parking permit may differ from one state to another. In the US, a state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for issuing and maintaining such parking permits, including placards and license plates. Parking terms and time also vary for different states and DMVs. Usually, if the disability is visibly discernible, some state DMVs waive the requisite certification from a licensed physician. However, the application procedure is mostly consistent across the states.
You can avail of a handicap parking permit with these steps:
- Before applying, make sure to check the eligibility conditions with your local DMV. If you meet the eligibility criteria, consider the different parking options available. Once you are fully aware of the terms and conditions, obtain the handicapped parking application from your local DMV or fill the application form online.
- Complete the application form with the requested details and sign the applicant section of the form. Your doctor or healthcare provider will have to fill the disability certifying section and sign the form accordingly. DMV mainly uses the certification to verify your condition.
- Finally, submit the application form in person or the mail and pay the applicable fee to your respective county tax office. Charges for handicap parking permits are typically between $0.00 to $20.00, based on state waivers and type of disability.
As a permit holder, you can park in any spot designated for persons with disabilities. You can also avail of parking fee waivers in several state-run facilities by registering with your local DMV. However, access to such fee waivers is limited since such permits are not universally permissible. In case you use a privately-owned or reserved facility, you may have to pay a regular fee to secure a spot or be unable to use the permit.
More importantly, remember the handicap permit is only valid if you are a driver or passenger in the vehicle for travel. The use of the parking permit in your absence is illegal and liable for penalties, resulting in fines and even permit cancellation.