How to Get a Pennsylvania Handicap Placard (and Who’s Eligible)

Drivers in Pennsylvania who wish to use a disabled parking space must have a disabled license plate or placard displaying the International Symbol of Access.
Written by Meaghan Branham
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
As of 2022, drivers in
Pennsylvania
must have a disabled
license plate
or placard featuring the International Symbol of Access in order to park in a disabled parking space.
For many people with disabilities, whether it be permanent or temporary, driving represents an important connection to independence. In order to help drivers with disabilities maintain that independence, every state includes easily accessible parking spots, which can only be used by drivers with a
handicap placard
or plate. There are some important differences in the regulations from state to state, however, that are important to keep in mind. 
That's why we've put together a guide featuring all you need to know about getting a disabled parking permit in Pennsylvania.  
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How to get a disabled parking placard or plate in Pennsylvania

A disabled parking placard or plate in Pennsylvania allows drivers to park in spaces designated for those with disabilities. There are a few types of these permits recognized in Pennsylvania:
  • Person with Disability Permanent Parking Placard. This is valid for a period of five years.
  • Person with Disability Temporary Parking Placard. This is valid for up to six months.
  • Severely Disabled
    Veteran
    Person with Disability Parking Placard. This is valid for five years.
  • Severely Disabled Veteran Motorcycle Decal. This is valid during the motorcycle registration period.
  • Persons with Disability Registration Plate. This needs to be renewed each year.
  • Severely Disabled Veteran Plate. This needs to be renewed each year.
  • Persons with Disability Motorcycle Registration Plate. This needs to be renewed each year.
These permits also allow you to park for an additional 60 minutes over a posted parking limit, but only when the person with the disability is operating the vehicle. 
All of these Pennsylvania handicap placards and plates feature the International Symbol of Access (ISA), commonly recognized as a blue and white stick figure with a wheelchair. All 50 states recognize this symbol as the permit to park in designated spaces for those with disabilities. 
There is one other kind of plate available: the Disabled Veteran Registration Plate, but this plate does not feature the ISA and does not allow for any parking privileges

Who’s eligible for a disabled parking placard?

You meet the legal definition of disability in Pennsylvania if: 
  • You are blind
  • You do not have full use of an arm or both arms
  • You cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
  • You cannot walk without assistance
  • You have a lung disease to such an extent that forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter or the arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 mm/hg on room air at rest
  • You use portable oxygen
  • You have a cardiac condition to the extent that the person's functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to the standards set by the American Heart Association
  • You are severely limited in your ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition
  • You are legally responsible for a person with any of the listed conditions 
  • You are the parent, including adoptive parent or foster parent, of, and have custody of, a child with any of the listed conditions 
  • You are the spouse of a person with any of the listed conditions
If, say, you take a bad spill and break a leg, you’ll probably need something a little more short term to use until your injury heals. In that case, you’re eligible for a red temporary disability placard, which is valid for up to six months.
For conditions, injuries, or ailments with more lasting effects, permanent disabled placards are good for up to five years.
You can also choose a disabled registration plate instead of a placard, but the plate can only be used on one vehicle

How to apply

The form you need to fill out for your disability placard or plate will depend on the type you are applying for. 
Here are the forms you’ll need to fill out for each, all of which can be found on the
Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles website
, or by going to a DMV office in the state:
  • For a permanent or temporary Person with Disability Parking placard, or a Severely Disabled Veteran placard, you’ll need to fill out
    Form MV-145A
    .
  • For a Person with Disability Registration Plate or a Person with Disability Motorcycle Plate, you’ll need to fill out Form MV-145.
  • For a Disabled Veteran or Severely Disabled Veteran Registration Plate, or a Severely Disabled Veteran Motorcycle Plate Decal, you’ll need to fill out Form MV-145V. 
Once you have the form you need, be sure to select the type of permit you are applying for at the top of the form. You can apply for either one Person with Disability placard, or one Persons with Disability placard and one Persons with Disability registration plate.
Next, you’ll need to have the form certified by a licensed medical professional in Section B, confirming that you meet the state’s legal definition of disability. In order for the certification to be valid, your doctor must be licensed in one of the following states:
You can also have it certified by a police officer instead, but keep in mind that they can only certify if you do not have full use of a leg or both legs, or are blind.
The last step will be to get the form notarized. Once that’s done, you’re ready to turn it in! You can either submit it in person at Riverfront Office Center (ROC) in Harrisburg, or you can mail your form to their address.
If you go to the customer counter in the ROC, you’ll immediately get your placard and a temporary ID card—a permanent ID card will be mailed to you later. If you do it by mail, your placard and temporary ID will be issued in the mail, and a permanent ID will come in the mail at a later date
There is no fee for a parking placard, but registration plates will require an $11 payment that can be mailed or turned in with your application. 
Key Takeaway To apply for a handicap parking placard in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to fill out the correct form, have it certified by a licensed medical professional or police officer, have it notarized, and either bring it to the Riverfront Office Center or mail it to their address. 

Renewing a disabled parking placard

Permanent placards expire every five years, and you will receive a renewal form about two months before your placard’s expiration date. Once you’ve completed your renewal form, simply bring it to the ROC in person, or mail it in. 
Temporary placards cannot be renewed, however. If you still need a temporary placard after the maximum six months, you’ll need to complete the MV-145A form and once again have it certified. 
Plates are renewed annually as with any registration—you should receive a renewal form in the mail about three months before the expiration. 

Guidelines for veterans with disabilities

There are two different classifications for plates and placards for veterans in Pennsylvania:
  • Disabled veteran: Only a registration plate is available for those who qualify for this category. 
  • Severely disabled veteran: Parking placards, motorcycle decals, and registration plates are all available to those in this category. 
The permits for those who are considered severely disabled veterans in the state of Pennsylvania display the ISA wheelchair design, which is required to use disabled parking spaces, while the Disabled Veteran Registration Plate does not. That means those with the latter will not be allowed the parking privileges of those with any other kind of disability placard or plate. 
For more information on disabled veteran parking regulations and which you should apply for, visit the
Pennsylvania DMV website
Key Takeaway In order to park in disabled spots, you’ll need to have a placard, plate, or decal for severely disabled veterans that features the ISA symbol, which is not present on the Disabled Veteran Registration Plate.
MORE: How to find city parking
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FAQs

The only way to renew a handicap placard in Pennsylvania is by bringing your renewal form to the customer counter at the Riverfront Office Center in Harrisburg or mailing it to the office’s address.
Handicap parking placards are free of charge in Pennsylvania, but handicap registration plates do require a fee of $11, which can be mailed or turned in with your application when you drop it off in person.
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