Who Qualifies for Disabled Parking in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issues disabled parking permits to persons who struggle to walk 200 feet unassisted. Disabled parking permits grant the holder the right to park in the many handicapped accessible parking spaces found in communities all over Pennsylvania.

Disabled parking permits are issued in three forms.

  1. Temporary permits lasting six months
  2. Permanent permits
  3. Disabled veterans permits

Disabled parking permits are granted to residents with a chronic or lifelong condition that affects their ability to walk. Here are some examples of qualifying conditions.

  • Partial or full paralysis or amputation
  • Conditions causing dizziness, loss of balance or sudden weakness
  • Cardiac conditions including heart attack or stroke (Class III and IV)
  • Respiratory conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Reliance on an assistive device such as a brace, walker, cane or wheelchair
  • Legal blindness

Some kinds of injuries and illnesses are eligible for a temporary permit. Broken bones and surgery rehabilitation periods are common reasons for a doctor to recommend a disabled parking permit. If you feel that your injury is severe enough to warrant the use of a disabled parking space, talk with your doctor about your eligibility.

If you are a disabled veteran and wish to display that status with a disabled veteran license plate, you must obtain both a physician signed certificate detailing the nature of your disability and a statement from the Department of Veteran Affairs stating that your disability is %100 service-related. This license plate is optional. Disabled veterans have the choice of applying for the standard disabled parking permit placard or the disabled veteran license plate.

How do You Obtain a Physician Signed Certificate in Pennsylvania?

Your primary care provider along with any advanced practice nurses or physicians’ assistants in their care team may sign your certificate of eligibility. If you believe you are eligible for the disabled parking permit program, you should ask your doctor during your next scheduled visit.

If you receive care from an optometrist, podiatrist, physical therapists, chiropractor or any other specialist concerning your disability, they may also sign your document.

Note that only a specialist seen for your disability may sign this form. For instance, if you are wheelchair-bound and also near-sighted, your optometrist is unable to sign a document verifying your disability, because it is outside their discipline. However, if you are legally blind, an optometrist can verify that for you and can sign your document.

If you are not currently seeing a regular care provider, or your next appointment is a long time from now, you may opt to see a provider virtually. There are many qualified providers in the state of Pennsylvania available for virtual visits at your convenience. These visits take place from the comfort of your home and are a quick and easy way to obtain your physician signed certificate.

Be aware that falsely seeking a disabled parking permit is a crime. If you are found guilty of fraud concerning a disabled parking permit application, you could be fined up to $10,000 or face up to five years imprisonment.

How do You File Your Disabled Parking Paperwork?

Once you obtain your physician signed certificate, you must file it along with form MV-145A. This form is filed in person with a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation local office.

Temporary placards lasting six months and permanent placards are both provided free of charge to qualified persons. Disabled parking permit license plates may be obtained by paying the same fees associated with license plate renewal. If you have obtained paperwork stating your disability is %100 service-related, you may choose to obtain a disabled veteran’s license plate.

If your disabled parking permit placard is lost or stolen, you must apply for a new one in person. There may be fees for replacement. Your disabled parking permit must be renewed along with your driver’s license. If you are a permanent placard holder, you will not need a new physician signed certificate, and there will be no fee for renewal.

Pennsylvania Disabled Parking Rules

Once you have successfully obtained your Pennsylvania disabled parking permit placard, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of disabled parking.

Always display your disabled parking permit placard while parked in a space reserved for handicapped parking. Failure to do so could result in a fine or the revocation of your placard. The display of your disabled parking permit placard should be prominent. Typically this is done by hanging the disabled parking permit placard from your rearview mirror or placing it on the dashboard so that it is visible from your windshield.

Do not hand your disabled parking permit placard while your vehicle is in motion. This constitutes an obstruction of view and could land you with a ticket.

Remember that your disabled parking permit is valid in all fifty states, so bring it with you when you travel. Of course, be sure to obey local parking laws and read all signs carefully. But when you see that blue and white disabled parking space icon while on a road trip, feel free to park.

Be sure to bring your disabled parking permit placard with you when your friends or family drive you someplace. As long as you are in the car, the vehicle may be parked in a handicapped space to make it easier for you to access the building you are traveling to. Just remember to display your placard when parked and remove your placard when done.

Under no circumstances may you ever lend, give away or sell your placard. This is a crime and is punishable by fines up to $10,000 or five years imprisonment. Be sure to report lost or stolen placards right away.

If you witness someone park in a space reserved for disabled parking who does not display a disabled parking permit placard, be sure to report the incident right away. When contacting local law enforcement, be sure to share with them the details of the violation, such as the time, location and license plate number.