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Posted 09/20/2023 in Disability Parking Permit

Understanding the Qualifications for a Handicap Placard in Washington

Understanding the Qualifications for a Handicap Placard in Washington

Understanding the Qualifications for a Handicap Placard in Washington


In Washington, individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to apply for a disabled pass, which provides certain parking privileges to make their daily lives easier. However, to ensure that these privileges are granted to those who genuinely need them, the state has established specific eligibility criteria. Understanding the eligibility criteria or qualifications for a handicap placard in Washington is crucial for both individuals with disabilities and those who may be assisting them. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the requirements and processes involved in obtaining a disability pass in Washington.

Qualifications for a Handicap Placard

To qualify for a disability pass in Washington, individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria. These criteria are in place to ensure that the privileges granted are accessible to those who genuinely need them. Let's explore the eligibility requirements in detail:

1. Physical Disability

To be eligible for a handicap placard, individuals must have a physical disability that severely impairs their mobility. This includes conditions such as the inability to walk without the aid of an assistive device, the use of portable oxygen, or the limitation of mobility due to a cardiac, arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

2. Temporary Disability

Individuals with temporary disabilities may also be eligible. Temporary disabilities include those caused by injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions that significantly affect mobility for a limited period. It is important to note that the pass is issued for the duration of the disability and must be returned once the temporary disability is resolved.

3. Visual Impairment

Individuals with visual impairments, including low vision or blindness, may also qualify. Visual impairment must be certified by a licensed healthcare professional specializing in eye conditions.

4. Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

In cases where individuals have intellectual or developmental disabilities that limit their mobility, they may be eligible for a disability sign. These disabilities must be certified by a licensed healthcare professional familiar with the individual's condition.

5. Severe Cardiovascular Conditions

Individuals with severe cardiovascular conditions that significantly impair their mobility may also meet the eligibility criteria for a handicap permit. These conditions must be certified by a licensed healthcare professional specializing in cardiovascular diseases.

Understanding the Qualifications for a Handicap Placard in Washington

How to Apply for a Handicap Placard

Now that we have explored the eligibility criteria for a disability sign in Washington, let's understand the process of applying for one. The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Gather Required Documents: Before applying for a handicap placard, ensure you have the necessary documents, including a completed application form, medical certification, and proof of identification.

  2. Complete the Application Form: Obtain the application form from the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) website or your local licensing office. Fill out the form accurately, providing all the required information.

  3. Medical Certification: Schedule an appointment with a licensed healthcare professional who can certify your disability. The healthcare professional will complete the medical certification section of the application form, providing the necessary details.

  4. Proof of Identification: Include a copy of your identification document, such as a driver's license or identification card, with your application.

  5. Submit the Application: Once you have gathered all the required documents and completed the application form, submit them to the DOL. You can submit the application in person at a licensing office or mail it to the designated address.

  6. Pay the Fee: Along with the application, you will need to pay the required fee for the handicap placard. The fee can vary, so it is advisable to check the current fee schedule on the DOL website.

  7. Await Approval: After submitting your application, the DOL will review it to ensure all the criteria are met. If approved, you will receive your handicap placard in the mail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long is a disability tag valid in Washington?

A: A Washington handicap placard is typically valid for up to five years. Temporary ones are issued for the duration specified by the certifying healthcare professional.

Q: Can I use my Washington disability tag in other states?

A: Yes, WA disability tags are generally recognized and accepted in other states. However, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the specific parking regulations of the state you are visiting.

Q: Can I lend my disability tag to someone else?

A: No, it is strictly prohibited to lend your tag to anyone else. It is issued for the use of the individual to whom it was issued, and misuse can result in penalties.

Q: Can I renew my disability tag online?

A: Yes, WA offers online renewal. You can visit the DOL website and follow the instructions for online renewal.

Q: Can I apply for a disability tag on behalf of someone else?

A: Yes, it is possible to apply on behalf of someone else. However, you will need to provide appropriate documentation and ensure you have the necessary authorization.

Q: Are there any parking exemptions for disability tag holders?

A: Yes, disability tag holders are granted certain parking exemptions in WA. These exemptions include accessible parking spaces and extended parking durations in metered areas.


Understanding the qualifications for a handicap placard in Washington is essential for individuals with disabilities seeking parking privileges. By meeting the specific criteria and following the application process, individuals can obtain a handicap placard to enhance their mobility and accessibility. Remember to consult the Washington State Department of Licensing for the most up-to-date information and to ensure a smooth application process. With a valid handicap placard, individuals can navigate their daily lives more easily, gaining the convenience they deserve.