Skip to content

    Pain Management Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Handicap Parking Permits: How to Get One

    If you have a chronic illness like arthritis or lung disease that makes it painful or difficult to walk, you might qualify for a handicapped parking permit. Ask your doctor about eligibility. People with limited mobility can save time, energy, and frustration when they park in handicapped parking spots near the entrances to businesses.

    Each state has its own forms and criteria for handicapped parking permits. Typically, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) runs the program. Check on your state’s specific process.

    Recommended Related to Pain Management

    Propofol: Expert Q&A

    Propofol is a strong anesthetic that's used for surgery, some medical exams, and for sedation for people on ventilators -- never as a sleep aid. It's given by IV and should only be administered by a medical professional trained in its use. It takes effect in a matter of seconds. "It is very fast-acting and works by slowing brain wave activities, says John F. Dombrowski, MD, an anesthesiologist/pain specialist at the Washington Pain Center in Washington, D.C. Dombrowski, who is a board member of...

    Read the Propofol: Expert Q&A article > >

    The DMV will need your doctor to verify your medical condition. Other health-care professionals -- such as an optometrist, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner -- may also be able to document your condition. If you’re visibly disabled and appear at a DMV office, the requirement of a physician’s certification might be waived in some states.

    Check with your own state to find out the specific criteria regarding who qualifies for disabled parking. Common conditions include:

    • Lung disease
    • Heart disease
    • Substantially impaired mobility, for example, use of a wheelchair, brace, or cane
    • A disease that significantly limits your ability walk or to use your legs
    • Documented vision problems, including low-vision or partial sightedness
    • Loss of one or both legs or loss of both hands, or limited use of these parts

    Be aware that other conditions also may apply, so ask your doctor about your eligibility. For example, some states will grant permits to people who use portable oxygen or have an acute sensitivity to sunlight that causes burning and blistering of the skin.

    How to Apply for a Handicap Parking Permit

    • Get a handicapped parking application from the DMV office or online.
    • Complete and sign the form. Ask your health-care provider to fill out and sign the portion that certifies disability. (Again, in some states, certification requirements might be waived if you’re visibly disabled and appear in person at the DMV.)
    • Submit the application by mail or in person.

    Although many people apply for permanent disabled parking, states also offer placards for temporary disability, such as after after having surgery. Typically, these temporary placards are valid for up to six months or up to the date that your doctor notes on the application.

    Fees also vary. Some states charge a small fee, and others provide placards free of charge.

    You are the only one legally allowed to use the placard, whether you’re a driver or passenger in the vehicle. It’s illegal for anyone else to use the placard if you’re not in the vehicle. Misusing the placard can result in cancellation of the permit, fines and other penalties.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on January 23, 2016

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Man holding handful of pills
    Video
     
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Slideshow
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    Slideshow
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
    man with a migraine
    Slideshow