How to Get Your New Jersey Handicap Parking Permit and Plates
The challenge of living with a disability means that you have to make adjustments to your day that most people don’t have to consider. You may have to make sure that you host events at a venue that is handicap accessible. Or, you may have special features in your home that make it easier for you to complete daily tasks and maintain your quality of life.
Being able to park close to an entrance or exit when you’re at work or school can be beneficial for you if you have limited mobility. If you live in New Jersey and have a disability, it’s important to know the state’s guidelines for receiving a parking permit.
What Constitutes a Disability?
If you have a short-term condition that will limit your mobility, you can receive a temporary disability permit. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will have to verify that you need the parking permit. If you’ve recently had surgery, were injured while playing a sport or broke an arm or leg, the doctor will likely sign the appropriate section of your permit application. You may also be eligible for a permit if you’ve recently given birth and have limited mobility as a result.
If you have a permanent disability, you apply for a placard and license plate. If you have to stop and rest after walking 200 feet or less, you are eligible for a permit. If you have arthritis, a neurological condition or an orthopedic condition that limits your ability to walk comfortably for long distances, you can receive a permit. The state will also issue you a parking permit if you have lung disease that severely impacts your mobility, or if you have a Class 3 or Class 4 heart condition that is classified by the American Heart Association. New Jersey residents who are missing one or more limbs, can not use one or more limbs or have restricted use of one or more limbs can apply for a disabled parking permit as well. Residents who are legally blind or visually impaired can also receive approval for a permit.
Where to Get Permits and Pay Fees
You can apply for a disability parking permit in New Jersey if you have a temporary or permanent disability. Permanent disability permits are free and temporary permits costs $4. New Jersey residents can obtain a permanent disability placard from their local Motor Vehicles Commission. However, residents who are applying for a temporary placard must obtain the permit from the local police chief. The cost for a temporary disability permit is $4.
How Long Do the Permits Last?
Permanent handicap placards and plates are valid in New Jersey for three years. The month and year for renewal is indicated on the placard, which allows you to plan ahead and renew your items in person or by mail.
Temporary placards are valid for six months. In some cases, the permit is valid for a shorter amount of time. Your doctor will dictate this on your application. If you need the permit for longer than six months, you can ask your doctor to certify a new document for you, fill out a new application and pay an additional $4 at your local police station.
Plates for Military Members and Veterans
If you’ve served in the Armed Forces or are currently in the military, you can receive specialty tags for your vehicle. Active duty members of the Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard, have to pay a $25 fee for military tags.
Disabled veterans can get license plates for $15 and Purple Heart recipients receive plates free of charge. Disabled veterans can also receive a parking permit and must submit a letter to the MVC from the Veterans Administration verifying disability. The plates are valid for three years and the expiration date is listed on the license plate or placard. Military members and veterans can call the MVC at 609-292-6500 ext.5061 to request a license plate application. Once the application is complete, it can be mailed to:
NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
Special Plate Unit
PO Box 015
Trenton, NJ 08666-0015
Members of the military who are deployed can also request extensions on tag renewal and registration. Once a military member is demobilized, all vehicle-related documents have to be renewed within 90 days of his/her return from duty. It’s best for individuals in the military to carry their Administrative Orders in their vehicles. Police officers in New Jersey are aware of military benefits when it comes to license plate registration.
Veterans who are disabled due to serving in the military and blind residents can receive parking permits and plates for free. These individuals must have a valid New Jersey drivers license or generate license number and their vehicles must be insured by a company that is licensed in New Jersey. Veterans who have vehicles that are equipped with attachments or devices that are essential for safe operation. Disabled veterans are also allowed to park in metered parking spaces free of charge for 24 hours.
Handicap Parking Abuse
Handicap parking abuse is defined as an able-bodied, non-disabled person parking in a handicap parking space. This is a misdemeanor offense in New Jersey. The punishment is a fine of up to $250. Subsequent offences can result in an additional $250 fine and up to 90 days of community service.
Make sure your friends and family don’t abuse handicap parking spaces by only using your license plates and placards when you are in the vehicle. If you’re not driving the car or a passenger in the car, the person operating your vehicle can not park in a handicap space. Remember not to park on the blue lines in between handicap parking space, since these are designed to provide enough room for people in wheelchairs and other mobility devices to get out of their cars safely.
If you witness handicap parking abuse, let a security guard or police officer know. Be sure to describe the car in as much detail as possible to prevent parking abuse in the future.