Living with Chronic Pain
Disability Parking Permits
Disability, or handicap, parking permits allow individuals with walking difficulties to park in specially designated spaces near the entrance of businesses. In certain locations, these permits may also enable access to certain parking areas, such as street parking, eliminate the need to pay parking meters, or grant parking for a longer period in a time-restricted zone.
Permanent and temporary disability parking permits
Disability parking permits can be permanent or temporary. Temporary permits are generally valid up to six months, making them appropriate for individuals with a temporary condition, such as recovering from surgery or having a broken bone. While temporary permits are usually displayed in the form of a placard hung from the rearview mirror, permanent permits can be displayed either by a placard or by a special symbol on a vehicle’s license plate.
Though criteria for obtaining a disability parking permit varies by state, province, territory, and country, individuals who may qualify include those with a chronic illness or mobility issue. Specific examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Lung or heart disease
- Impaired mobility requiring the use of a brace, cane, walker, rollator or wheelchair
- Documented vision problems
- Limited ability to walk or inability to walk long distances
- Loss or limited use of one or both legs or loss of both hands
- Neuromuscular disorder limiting mobility
Disability parking permits have many benefits, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Space is provided for individuals who have mobility issues or use a wheelchair to easily get in and out of vehicles.
- Individuals who struggle to walk long distances save energy and minimize pain.
- Safety is increased for those with vision problems or other disabilities by reducing the travel distance from a vehicle to a building entrance.
- Independence and social connections, otherwise avoided due to parking distance, are maintained.
Individuals interested in obtaining a disability parking permit should speak to their physician, who can advise on qualifications and completing necessary paperwork. Applications are typically found with the Ministry or Department of Motor Vehicles.
Additional sources: Creaky Joints and Verywell Health