Living with mesothelioma on a daily basis is extremely tiring. Anything that helps to conserve your much-needed energy is a valuable service. Being able to use a handicap permit or disability placard and park close to entrances can make trips to the doctor, the store, or anywhere else a little more manageable. But how do you get one of these placards? Read on to find out.

The Process: Step-by-Step

Applying for a handicap permit varies from state to state, but the steps involved are basically the same.

  1. Get an Application
    Your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the applications for disability parking permits. You can go in person to the DMV or find it online in some states.
  2. Complete with Your Doctor’s Help
    After you complete your part of the application, ask your doctor to fill out the designated area to confirm that you have a disability.
  3. Submit Your Application
    Submit your completed application to the local DMV. Your placard should arrive 2-4 weeks later.

Types of Disability Parking Permits

There are 3 types of handicap or disability parking permits. Although these designations may vary from state to state, the criteria involved will follow a similar format.

Temporary Placard – Issued to people with disabilities expected to last 2-12 months. The length of time the temporary placard is valid can be adjusted or extended, if necessary, by a doctor’s recommendation.

Long-Term Disability Placard – Issued to people with disabilities expected to last 1-3 years. This information is based on recommendations from your physician.

Permanent Disability Placard – Issued to people with disabilities expected to last longer than 3 years. Please note, in most states, this type of permit will expire when your license does. You will need to reapply to have the permit reinstated.

For mesothelioma patients, these various permits are helpful because the permit type can be changed as your treatment and your physical needs change.

Display and Use of the Placard

Your placard needs to be displayed from the rear-view mirror of the car while parked. Some states have laws that don’t allow the placard to hang from the mirror while driving. As always, please refer to your local DMV for the rules and regulations.

The placard allows you to park in any parking space designated for a person with disabilities. It is important to note that these permits are issued to a specific person, and not to a vehicle. Therefore, the placard can be used only if you are in the vehicle. When traveling, it’s a good idea to check with the local DMV to find out if they recognize disability placards from other states.

If you have any questions, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for assistance.