More things your doctor doesn’t tell you: temporary handicapped parking permits

I can’t believe how many times I’ve had different versions of the same conversation. First there was this one:Handicapped Parking

Me: There is absolutely no excuse for parking in a handicapped parking space without a permit.

Him: Well, maybe there are some.

Me: No. None. There’s just no excuse at all. If you need the space, get a permit.

Him: What do you think about pregnant women using those spaces?

Me: I have had plenty of pregnant friends who could walk around just fine up to the time they delivered. They sure did better than me!

Him: Well, my sister had some complications.

Me: Then she should have gotten a temporary permit from her doctor.

Him: Oh, I didn’t know those existed!

Then came this one:

Me: There is absolutely no excuse for parking in a handicapped parking space without a permit.

Her: I totally agree. Usually. I mean, I did park in them last month when my foot was healing. But that was different. I needed it.

Me: If you really needed it then you should have gotten a temporary permit from your doctor.

Her: Oh, I didn’t know those existed!

And there have been others. Why is it so hard to understand that there is no excuse whatsoever for parking in a handicapped parking space without a permit? Why don’t people realize that if they have a legitimate need then they should get a temporary permit? Oh, that’s right, because doctors never offer them! Shouldn’t a doctor suggest to a patient with a broken foot or some other temporary condition that they get a temporary permit? I don’t know if temporary permits are available in every state, but they definitely are in Massachusetts. (If you want proof, check out #6 on this site.) But the average ambulatory person does not know this. Why would they?

Doctors should know it, though. They should know it, and they should tell their patients. I am not suggesting that these temporary permits be handed out like candy on Halloween. However, like so many other issues in the world of illness, education will help everyone. People who need temporary permits would be helped so much if they could actually get them. And people with a legitimate need to park in those spaces would be helped by people not assuming it’s ok to park there if they themselves judge their own need to be worthy.

So I will continue to say this to people, and I hope you do, too:

It’s not up to you to decide if you “need” or “deserve” to park in those spaces. If you have a legitimate need, get a permit. Otherwise, leave those spaces for people who really do need them!

Have you had similar conversations? Please share some in the comments below!

14 Responses to More things your doctor doesn’t tell you: temporary handicapped parking permits

  1. Tamara Epps says:

    I would say I need a permit as I either can’t walk far or am in a wheelchair. However, I am only in a car at my parents which is a few times a year and I simply cannot afford to buy a permit when it would get used so rarely. In general we try and park in the toddler section (as my mum does have a young child), and if there are only a couple of disabled spaces we leave them clear, but sometimes that’s just not an option.

    • chronicrants says:

      Wait, you have to PAY for a permit!?! That’s terrible!!!! I’m so sorry to hear that!

      • Tamara Epps says:

        Unfortunately yes – here it is up to the county you’re in as to how much to pay, same as with radar keys (although, some counties, like mine, don’t charge for these). On the flip side, at least we don’t have to pay to see the doctor if we need to.

      • chronicrants says:

        I had to look up radar keys. So basically, they’re charging you to access a service that they are providing to you. They aren’t charging to park in non-handicapped spaces or to use non-handicapped toilets. So they’re essentially imposing a tax on disability! Shameful! You’re right that at least you don’t have to pay for doctors, which is good. Still, this is completely inequitable!

  2. Find Focus says:

    Sad but true, they charge for them here as well. I agree with your thoughts – someone without a true disability (whether permanent or temporary) shouldn’t take a spot reserved for someone with a legitimate need and permit… However, I also know people that don’t often drive/ride in a car and don’t want to spend the money for the doctor’s visit for paperwork and the additional fee for the placard. :-/

    • chronicrants says:

      That’s just shameful! How can they justify charging for that? It’s not like it’s a luxury, it’s a necessity! Would you mind telling me approximately where you’re located? I’m wondering where it is that they charge for placards. This just makes me so angry!

  3. stuckintexas says:

    Second to that is the people who park in HC “on behalf of” a person with a handicap. Ran into a lady at Sams who parked in HC bc she was buying something for her husband, who is handicapped. But at home on the couch, not at Sams! Another lady got busted by parking enforcement bc she left her HC mom in the car, in a HC spot, while she ran in alone to refill moms prescription. Ugh!

    I rarely use the HC spots. Only in severe weather, if there is one! I have a power chair so one end of the lot is as good as the other. I figure someone not so lucky should get those.

    • chronicrants says:

      I always leave those spots open when I can, too. And yes, I’ve heard of people who park “on behalf” of someone else too, and it’s infuriating. Obviously there are legitimate times – like when a friend and I went shopping and I parked in the space, but later I wasn’t up to getting back to the car, so she got the car and picked me up at the entrance. If a cop had asked her about that, she would have had to explain. But if I hadn’t been there and she was just picking up something for me, she would have parked in a non-handicapped spot, of course!

  4. wlerch says:

    Hey all – I agree – although I will admit to having used a HC stall without a permit in the past (my bad – and I have no excuse! – I will qualify that I’ve done it maybe 2 or 3 times in my entire life, so please still be my friends :)) – I do totally agree about the doctor thing though – I was just at my yearly physical on Monday and actually brought it up myself (not knowing the process…) because while I can walk, I can’t walk far, so if I needed to walk from the back of the parking lot to the back of Safeway to get milk – I wouldn’t do it. And her response was – yes, I think that is a good idea (then why haven’t you suggested it???) same thing when I asked about using a wheelchair temporarily right after my latest “attack” – the response was “great idea” – (and again – why am I the one who is bringing this up?) I will be applying for my pass once my doctor fills out the necessary paperwork (I have no idea if I will have to pay) and I will use it on the days I NEED it, and happily park in a regular stall on the days I don’t! Bottom line – we have to advocate for ourselves – I guess learning how to do that is a part of the journey! Happy advocating everyone!

    • chronicrants says:

      The more I think about it, the more I don’t think it should necessarily be the doctor’s job. I think there should be some sort of social worker-type person who watches out for these things. The doctor should deal with medical issues and the other person should help with accommodations. But that’s not our system, so we truly need the doctor to think of these things and it hurts us when they don’t!

      • wlerch says:

        Actually yes – that might fall under the “occupational therapist” hat, but I’m still not really sure what that person is supposed to do for me, so… we should make a check list – “things to consider when you have a chronic illness” – it can be so overwhelming eh! (on another note – I did just email the hotel we are staying at in New York next month to ask if they have a wheelchair I can use thanks to your other post about wheelchairs – fingers crossed!)

      • chronicrants says:

        Great! I hope the hotel can help you out!

        And you’re right, OT is great for this kind of thing, but not everyone sees and OT. I think there needs to be someone whose job is just to help every patient with this kind of thing. Or maybe we just need enough OTs so that every patient can see one!

  5. Kelly says:

    Your experience also indicates why many doctors sign a disabled parking permit application without really understanding the qualifications. One of the more common qualifications is “cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest”. I would venture a guess that over 75% of placard holders can walk farther than 200 feet without stopping to rest.

    • chronicrants says:

      Good point, Kelly. I never understood that requirement – I mean, 200 feet might be enough to get from your car to the door of the supermarket, but it’s not enough to do all of the shopping and then get back to the car. Still, that should be changed at the policy level, not simply ignored by doctors. And there are people like me who can manage 200 feet some days but not others, and the requirements don’t account for that, as far as I can tell, but doctors need to figure that out. I guess it’s just one of many things I’d change if I could.

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