How to Get a Handicapped Parking Permit
The first steps are taking a trip to your doctor and local DMV.
If you have difficult walking, or you use a cane, wheelchair, walker or other device to get around, then you're probably eligible for a handicapped parking sticker.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get a permit:
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1. Check If You're Eligible
Most people actually aren't aware that they're eligible for a handicapped parking permit. They may not realize their disability qualifies them for one or they may not want to admit to having a disability in the first place. The eligibility regulations vary by state and city, but you may be entitled to one if you use portable oxygen or have problems walking.
(Click on your state at the bottom of this article to find out more information for your area.)
2. Know Your Options
There are different permits available -- some for short-term disabilities and some for longer periods of time -- depending on your state. Some states offer license plates with permanent handicapped symbols on them, while others provide a placard that can be hung from the rear-view mirror. The tag you should apply for depends on your situation and disability. Temporary/short-term permits usually last for about six months, while permanent parking stickers may be valid for up to two years.
If you're a veteran with a service-connected disability, you may also be eligible for disabled veteran permit. The fees are often waived for these types of permits.
3. Get an Application
Check out the website for your local DMV (or the city, town or village clerk that issues permits in your area) and read up on the rules regarding available tags, associated fees and what's required in the application process. Then print out an application.
4. Talk to a Doctor
As soon as you think you or a loved one might benefit from a handicapped sticker, make a doctor's appointment to discuss parking tag eligibility. (Depending on your disability, you may need to meet with a medical doctor, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, optometrist, registered nurse, etc.) Speak candidly with your doctor and discuss how this permit might help you and your family.
If you're eligible, the physician will fill out the application you printed out or provide a note saying why you need the permit. (Some doctors have these applications available in their offices, so you may not need to print it out.)
5. Apply for the Permit
Usually, the disabled person must apply for the handicapped sticker -- either online or through the mail. You're applying for a permit for a person, not a car itself. You can usually ask for permits for several cars all at once.
It generally takes about a month to process an application and receive relevant tags or plates. Plan accordingly, especially if you know ahead of time that you might need a temporary tag for a scheduled surgery.
6. Use the Permit Properly
There's a big problem with handicapped parking fraud -- people who don't have disabilities use the permits to score better parking spots. So make sure you read your state's rules carefully. What areas can you park in? Does the permit-holder have to be in the car? What about if you're dropping someone off or picking them up? Is the permit good for traveling in other states?
7. Renew Your Permit
Renewing also depends on your state. Permits, tags, stickers and license plates all have varying expiration dates -- and the renewal process differs depending on whether you have a permanent or temporary sticker. Some tags automatically renew, while others require you to re-certify you're eligible for a handicapped permit.
8. Get a Handicapped Parking Sign
Some areas let you designate a handicapped parking spot in front of your home. Check with your city or town's Disability Commission for more information. Learn the rules in your state:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia