I have written about this before but I think it’s a good time for a refresher. All too often I see things from the disabled community about how a local “hero” has left a note shunning them for not being disabled and parking in a disabled spot; or, they even go a step further and resort to verbal harassment (like one of my experiences here). Let’s get this out of the way: I know the sign has a wheelchair on it but that, in no way, represents the entire disabled community. Many disabilities, mine included, are not visible (minus the apparent drunken stupor that MS has gifted me). So I thought I would share what actually qualifies a person for a disabled parking pass in Washington state. You might be surprised.
Who is eligible?
Washington State Disabled Parking qualifications:
- Can’t walk 200 ft without stopping
- Walking is limited by arthritis, neurological or orthopedic condition
- Can’t walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device
- You use portable oxygen
- You’re restricted by lung disease
- You’re impaired by cardiovascular disease or cardiac condition
- You have a disability resulting from an acute sensitivity to automobile emissions which limits or impairs your ability to walk
- You’re legally blind and have limited mobility
- You have acute sensitivity to light associated with a form of porphyria that would significantly benefit from a decrease in exposure to light
Still think they are faking it?
So what should you do if you suspect a fraudulent disabled parker? Report it to the local police. Yes, call 911 to report them. Please do not yell, comment, leave nasty notes for us, or otherwise harass us. We are required to carry documentation for our pass, but we only have to furnish it to police.
As frustrating as it can be not having access to a disabled parking spot, it is much worse to be judged and side-eyed for using it. I guess what i’m getting at is: please don’t harass others in the name of sticking up for me. In my experience, you end up harming more than you’re helping.
If you do want to do something constructive for the community, shoot us a smile every once in awhile. You might be surprised…we don’t get them often.