The Benefits of a Handicap Placard

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A disabled person is eligible for a placard if he is missing his lower limbs, or if he has a medical certificate from his licensed physician, nurse practitioner, surgeon, chiropractor or optometrist certifying that his use of either his eyes or his legs is limited, or his heart or lungs are weakened, or his ability to walk is otherwise severely limited due to his medical condition. To get a placard, the disabled person must fill out an application with his state's DMV, including the section for the Doctor's Certification, and pay the associated fees.

Reserved Parking Spaces

The disabled person placard entitles the user to park in spaces marked by the wheelchair symbol, which is the International Symbol of Access. It also entitles the user to park in other spaces reserved for those with disabilities, such as along a blue curb (a sign of disabilities parking in California). The placard user also may park in areas that ordinarily require a merchant or resident permit.

Limited Time Parking Spaces

The disabled person placard entitles the user to park in on-street metered parking without paying the meter. It also allows the disabled person to park in a limited-time space, such as along a green curb in California, without adhering to the time limit. How long the placard user can park past the posted limit is state-specific; in some states, such as California, the placard entitles the user not to comply with any limit and in some states, such as Pennsylvania, the user can park only for 60 minutes longer than the posted time limit.

Other Benefits

The placard's other benefits are state-specific, and many require a disabled person license plate as opposed to a placard. For example, in Pennsylvania, a disabled person can request local authorities to mark a space close to his house as reserved for those with disabilities. In addition to the benefits the placard gives its user in terms of parking, in some states, such as California, the user also is entitled to receive full service from any gas station as long as there is more than one gas station attendant on duty. Even though the disabled person may receive full service, he only pays self-service rates.

Limitations on Benefits

Only the person issued may use the placard. He can't lend it to anyone. The placard also doesn't entitle the user to park in no parking zones (such as along a red curb in California), in spaces reserved for commercial vehicles and freight loading (such as along a yellow curb in California), in spaces reserved for passenger loading and unloading (such as along a white curb in California), or in the cross-hatched space next to spaces reserved for disabled parking, because those spaces are for wheelchair ramps and lifts.

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About the Author

Sasha Rousseau began writing in 2003. She won the best fiction award from "Thoroughfare Literary Magazine," placed in the Sir Martin Gilbert Churchill National Essay Competition and has been published in the "Washington Post." She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in writing seminars and English from Johns Hopkins University.

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