18:10 PM

Getting a Handicap Parking Permit When You Have Arthritis: What You Need to Know

CreakyJoints reports for some people with disabilities the decision to get a handicap parking permit can be difficult to accept. Some people might be unsure if they qualify, or how to apply. And for those living with invisible disease (i.e., their symptoms are not evident to others), receiving comments and stares from strangers can be unsettling.

CreakyJoints spoke to Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, rheumatologist at HSS, and Juliette Kleinman, LCSW, ACSW, senior social work manager, rheumatology at HSS, to discuss what this process entails for arthritis patients. Dr. Fields noted, “Some of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ list of disabilities that qualify for the placard and which especially relate to people with arthritis are: inability to walk 200 feet without stopping and severe limitation in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.” Dr. Fields continued on saying people should be comfortable addressing this issue with their doctor, even if that conversation means you learn you don’t yet meet the requirements. Klienman added, “Bringing up this request early on in the appointment is important, so that you have enough time to be evaluated by your doctor.”

Dr. Fields further explained, “There are a number of conditions where a patient’s source of disability is not visible to an observer. The key issue is how these issues are affecting the patient rather than how they look to others.” Klienman concluded, “The pain and fatigue from arthritis is internal and may not be visible to others, however, you are the one who experiences it day to day. It’s understandable that we may be concerned about what others think, but remember, the handicap placard is there to help you take care of yourself and get you to where you need to be to maintain your independence.”

Read the full article at CreakyJoints.org.