What medical conditions qualify you for a disability parking permit?

| September 9, 2013 | 2 Comments

Although the process for receiving a disability parking permit varies nationwide, each state requires paperwork from a licensed medical professional who can certify the applicant’s disability status. Typically a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant (some states, such as Hawaii, also allow certification from naturopaths and chiropractors), the medical professional generally has a set menu of options when reviewing a patient for certification. The language describing the conditions can vary, but the criteria are almost all uniform for those seeking a long-term disability parking permit:

  • The applicant cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest. This condition can stem from arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic causes. For instance, a person may have suffered a series of strokes.
  • The applicant cannot walk without the use of assistive devices, such as a cane, crutch, or wheelchair.
  • The applicant has restricted breathing due to lung disease, which can include emphysema or cystic fibrosis, among a range of other diseases. Here, however, a specific criterion applies: the measurement by spirometry of a person’s forced expiratory volume or FEV, which has to be less than 1 liter in 1 second.
  • The applicant has a cardiac condition diagnosed as Class III or IV, according to the standards of the American Heart Association. The categories do not identify specific diseases, but call out functional limitations, such as cardiac insufficiency at rest.
  • The applicant uses portable oxygen. Conditions that require such a device include, but are not limited to, pulmonary hypertension or interstitial lung disease.
  • The applicant is legally blind.

 Disability permit_Floridian

Applicants may also seek a temporary disability parking permit, which typically last up to six months but can often be renewed. Conditions other than those listed above, such as pregnancy, may qualify an applicant for temporary status.

While the criteria qualifying an applicant for disability status are unlikely to change, states are beginning to reassess physicians’ role in the application process. More and more often, local governments are identifying high rates of disability parking permit abuse, such as drivers who display the placards of disabled relatives who have since died or who use the permits when no disabled person occupies the vehicle.

disabled parking

Disability parking fraud prompted the MyParkingSign team to create and install these “Taking my Spot? Take my disability” signs. Check them out here.

Because the permits typically allow their holder to park for free at metered spots, abusers of the privilege are costing cities nationwide. A report released by Seattle’s City Auditor’s Office in June, for example, estimated that the city was losing as much as $1.4 million each year to disability parking permit abuse.

Those studying the issue have identified the medical professionals who issue the certifications as one source of the problem. States don’t track which professionals are providing the certifications, making it difficult to identify those who may be issuing them more freely. Some doctors, reluctant to turn down a paying patient, may feel compelled to approve requests that fail to meet the criteria.

Check with your state’s local motor vehicle division to discover changes, if any, regarding physicians’ involvement in the certification process for a disability permit parking placard.

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Category: Regulations

Comments (2)

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  1. Shawna scott says:

    Have a question. I am disabled with a placcard to use. My mom lives in subsubstized housing for disabled, elderly or u have to have a child. (The manager claims anyhow) My mother qualifies under all three. I visit her couple times a week. But whenever I park in the one disabled parking spot they have, I get a management warning ticket on my car stating iam not allowed to park anywere in on the property. He states all parking, including the one disabled parking are only for residents. Hes given me two warning tickets now, threatening my car will be towed at my expense if i park again. The warning states i meed to only park on the street, not on his property. Which is far for anyone, especially a disabled person. Also none of the parking spots are numbered or assigned to the residents. But according to my ticket and his verbal warning to my mother, if I park anywhere I will be towed, because these parking spots are assigned for residents only. So, my questions are. #1. Am I legally allowed to park in the disabled parking on the property? Is it legal to say it’s for residents only? And..#2 question, doesn’t he need to have numbers on the parking spaces to be legally considered “assigned resident parking only”??? What should I do? My mother is being harassed for every time I come to visit. He also has cameras pointed straight at her apartment. He’s verbally warned her also, I cannot visit as often as I do, it’s against the rules. He also verbally stated to my disabled mother, even the residents cannot park in the disabled parking unless they are in a wheelchair. This manager seems to be making his own rules, what can we do and what are the laws on the problems I’ve mentioned please? Help…we’re being harassed it feels like. Thank u for any input.

    • Conrad Lumm says:

      Hi, Shawna! We’re going to answer your questions in order.

      1: Can a property owner or manager designate parking spaces to be for residents only?
      Generally, yes. They can legally restrict parking spaces to residents only under the ADA and Fair Housing Act, including accessible spaces.

      2: Does the property owner or manager have to paint space numbers to be considered assigned resident parking?
      No. Those kinds of contractual obligations would usually be specified in the lease.

      3: What should you and your mother do?
      If your mother believes that she’s being illegally harassed and being discriminated against because of her disability, the next step would be to file a government complaint. The federal Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity handles disability discrimination complaints in housing.

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