Convenient parking is an important part of living with a disability, especially when it severely impairs your mobility. Even if the person with the disability isn’t the one driving, they still need to make their way into the business or store with as little trouble or pain as possible. If you think you may need to apply for disability parking, know first who qualifies for disabled parking and which kind may be available to you.
Permanent Disability Parking Permits
If you have a mobility-related disability and you require a wheelchair or cane to get around, you likely qualify for a permanent disability parking permit. Permanent disability parking permits will go on your license plate or a hanging placard for your rearview mirror. Handicapped parking spots typically have extra space for added convenience when unloading a wheelchair. Mobility-related disabilities are not the only reasons an individual may use handicapped parking spots, though they may seem the most obvious.
Vision loss can also justify a permanent disability parking permit if the loss is bad enough or if it worsens at night. Heart or lung diseases, especially those that require portable oxygen, will also qualify a person for a disabled parking permit, as they might not be able to walk long distances easily. As a person ages, arthritis can worsen to a point where it is hard to walk long distances. At this point, a handicap parking permit may be a viable option. People with prosthetic limbs may also qualify for a disability parking permit.
Temporary Disability Parking Permits
Not all disability parking permits are permanent. Temporary disability parking permits are offered to those who will recover from their ailments, and the placards are a different color than permanent parking permits. There are many reasons someone may qualify for a temporary disability parking permit, including pregnancy or recovery from a recent surgery. Injuries that an individual can recover from, such as any incident that puts your arm in a sling or requires you to use crutches, may also qualify an individual for a temporary disability parking permit.
Temporary parking permits typically last for six months, though, if a doctor notes a specific date, the permit will last until that day. As with permanent disability parking permits, temporary parking permits don’t require you to be the driver—you only have to be a passenger in the car. If the driver abuses your parking permit, they can get heavy fines and have their license taken away.
Who qualifies for disabled parking can vary from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s regulations online or at the DMV. Some states even offer meter-exempt parking that allows you to skip paying for metered parking. Know your options—it could make your life easier!