Handicapped parking spaces are specially marked and available for use by disabled individuals who meet certain criteria. To use these disabled parking spaces, an individual must first obtain a handicapped parking permit. After determining if he is eligible, a person trying to obtain one of these must fill out an application. Most states in the United States require an person's doctor to fill out a portion of this application as well, attesting to the fact that the applicant does have a disability.
The first step toward obtaining a handicapped parking permit is determining if you are eligible. Although this varies depending on the state, most areas will give parking permits to individuals who have trouble walking 200 feet (61 meters) without any problems. This can include individuals in a wheelchair, or those with arthritis or a chronic breathing condition, like emphysema.
Many times, an application to get a handicapped parking permit can be obtained at your state's department of motor vehicles, driver's license center, or similar office. This application will often require you to fill out certain personal information including your name, address, and telephone number. Information regarding your driver's license or vehicle may also be required.
It is also common for your doctor to provide information. Usually he must provide information, including the nature of your disability, when it was first diagnosed, and whether it is permanent or temporary. Penalties for attesting to false information on an application for a handicapped parking permit could result in a hefty fine or a prison sentence.
After the application is filled out and signed, it must then be mailed to the correct office. Keep in mind that in some states, a person requesting a handicapped parking permit must mail it not to the department of motor vehicles, but to some other office. For example, residents of Hawaii must send their completed application to the health department.
If your disability is permanent, you may have the option of getting a handicapped license plate. These plates are very similar to regular license plates, but they usually have a handicapped symbol on them. You would have to have a separate handicapped parking permit if you drove any other car and wanted to park in a handicapped space. This would also be necessary if you got a ride with someone instead of taking your own car. These separate placards are usually plastic cards that can be hung from the rear view mirror of a vehicle.