Obtaining a Handicapped Parking Permit
by Melinda Lang
Recently I renewed my handicapped parking placard, this time without feeling guilty, knowing I will be safer from falls with a shorter distance to walk.
I found it difficult to finally admit that the progression of my CMT was advanced enough to warrant a handicapped parking permit. However, I asked for the permit because I had been starting my days by falling on my face just after a couple of steps. Also, in the midst of winter I feared slipping in the snow and ice, and finding myself unable to get back up. But still, I tried to pretend I was quite capable of getting around on my own without any special help. I tried to fool myself into believing that my current level of impairment was the worst that I would experience.
When I asked my doctor for help in obtaining my first handicapped parking permit, he asked “Do you think you really need it?” His response left me wondering if I was disabled enough at that time to qualify. After all, I had just insisted that I did not need a leg brace on my “good” leg yet. Although clearly my doctor felt differently. Then when I first started using the handicap permit, my husband insisted I leave the spot “for someone who really needs it.” So, I felt uncomfortable climbing out of the car making my way into a restaurant or business imagining prying eyes judging the severity of my condition. As I explained to my husband, my doctor would not have approved the permit unless he thought “I really needed it,” However, I understood what he meant. Others, perhaps older or in wheel chairs, or more disabled than I, should have first access to the coveted space. In addition, my disability is not always apparent, especially when wearing long pants that cover my leg brace, and long sleeves that hide my atrophied arms.
In New York state any disabling condition, which limits a person’s ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition qualifies for a parking permit. Neuromuscular dysfunction that severely limits mobility including the use of assistive devices such as the leg braces (AFOs) or a cane, are eligible for handicap parking. A physician must fill out and sign the application form verifying the request for a handicapped parking permit.
A parking permit may be issued for either a permanent or temporary disability. PERMANENT DISABILITIES may be certified by a Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), Physician Assistant (PA), Nurse Practitioner (NP), or in cases involving podiatry, a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). However, TEMPORARY DISABILITIES may be certified only by a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy.
Most city, town or village clerks, and some police departments, issue permits. The Department of Motor Vehicles issues one set of license plates for people with permanent disabilities for a vehicle registered in the name of the person who has the disability.
Disability Parking. http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/broch/c34.htm
- Letters: Handicapped parking for those in need (knoxnews.com)