Disability Law

Knowledge is power. Our AMS Vans blog posts on disability law help explain legislation and emerging issues that impact your life. We’ll make you aware of the latest changes and additions to state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to people with disabilities. Topics include disability discrimination, accessibility, healthcare, and policies and services that are being changed or created to protect and empower people living with disabilities. We’ll help you understand how Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legislation protects your housing, educational and employment rights.

Celebrating 29 Years of the Americans With Disabilities Act

Disabilities are nothing new. However, the fact that the country has been helping people with disabilities is still relatively new. This month, we celebrate 29 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Developed in 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act was a milestone that has created equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

It Started With the Capitol Crawl capital crawl where people with disabilities climbed the steps of the U.S. capitol building

In March of 1990, there were dozens of activists with disabilities who got out of their wheelchairs in order to “crawl” up the steps to the Capitol building to protest that the government wasn’t sufficiently advocating for those with disabilities.

It took quite a while for the ADA to pass through Congress. It was introduced in 1988 with bipartisan support. Since it took so long to pass, the Capitol Crawl was used to garner support and show that our community wouldn’t be ignored. After that, Congress pushed it through, becoming law in July of the same year.

What the Americans With Disabilities Act Offers

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits people with disabilities from being discriminated, including in such areas as public accommodations, transportation, employment, access to local and state government programs, as well as communications.

A variety of different federal agencies will enforce or investigate claims surrounding ADA. This includes the US Department of Labor, US Department of Transportation, FCC, US Equal Employment opportunity Commission, the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Education, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and even the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

Developed in 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act was a milestone. Indeed, it ensures that people do not discriminate against the disabled.

Confident business owners planning new business strategies.

Since the ADA was passed, communities have become more and more accessible. This includes everything from mandatory wheelchair accessible parking to curb-cuts. Almost all buses today are wheelchair accessible. Employers can’t discriminate against someone because of a disability. Government buildings have gone through renovations to allow access to all. Service dogs are protected and allowed to serve their owners, regardless of where they are.

The Timeline of Changes

Although the ADA was first developed in 1990, changes have been ongoing, providing even more rights to those with disabilities. For example, in 1991 there were more laws that focused on public accommodations. Then, in 1992, the ADA expanded to include employers with 25 or more employees. In 1999, there were two rulings by the Supreme Court that helped ensure that more people were covered by the Americans with disabilities act, including those taking certain types of medication. Even in 2006, there were updates to transportation regulations.

President Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990

President Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990

By 2008, there was the ADA Amendments Act, known as ADAAA. This was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush as a way of counteracting the Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of disability. It provided broader protection from discrimination. Further, it ensured that the definition of disability included having a mental or physical impairment that significantly limits one or multiple areas of life.

While the ADA and the following amendments have gone so far to ensure access and protect the rights of Americans with disabilities, there is still much work to be done. Attitudinal barriers and enforcement of the law continue to be a challenge for many people. We’re proud at AMS Vans to be a part of the fight!

Learn more about becoming a disability rights advocate from United Spinal Association here.

A Solution for Those With Disabilities

At AMS Vans LLC, we have been helping those with disabilities for over 20 years, all across the nation. We’ll work directly with you to provide quality wheelchair accessible vans that provide you with the mobile freedom that you desire. We offer a number of conversions – and you can find long and short-term rentals as well as direct sales to meet your personal needs. With AMS Vans, you can count on nationwide delivery and service, leasing and financing options and unmatched customer service.

road sign that says are you covered

Tips on Getting the Best Insurance Coverage for Your Accessible Vehicle

In case you are wondering if car insurance works differently for accessible vehicles, you are not alone. Luckily, we’re here to offer some tips on the process.

If you are a driver with a disability, the focus of your insurance is substantially similar to that of standard car insurance; accidents. The protection afforded to your wheelchair van mainly varies according to the coverage you select.

Points to Note hand holding a car in a bubble to represent car insurance

The only stipulation needed to drive in public is that you can drive safely, regardless of disability; and if you passed your driver’s test, then the state considers it safe for you to drive. Before looking at premiums, it helps to know what insurance companies base those premiums on.

Insurance companies are not allowed to base their premiums on a driver’s disability. They do, however; base their premiums on several other factors, including the following.

  • Risk analysis – Moody’s Risk Analysis is a tool some companies use to measure the level of risk among drivers and determine insurance rates.
  • Credit history – This helps companies determine whether the driver can pay their premiums on time while also estimate the likelihood of the driver dropping their policy.
  • Driving record – Your driving record is vital for determining your risk while on the road.
  • Marriage status – Your marital status might be another factor insurance companies look at while determining your rates.
  • Age – On average, people aged between 18 and 25 often have high rates, so if you are within this age bracket, don’t be surprised if your rates are a bit high.
  • Criminal record – Some companies might run a criminal background if they feel it necessary.

The best thing to do when getting insurance for your accessible vehicle is to research and compare options, and consult insurance representatives. It is not necessary for you to share your disability, but doing so gives them more information about your current status and might enable them to recommend better quotes for you.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted in 1990, it is illegal for anyone to discriminate in any way, against persons with disabilities; this includes car insurance companies that charge higher rates due to disabilities. Click To Tweet

When Applying

When applying for insurance, be sure to disclose your vehicle’s modifications because different types of changes can differently affect your rates. Be sure you get coverage for the adaptive equipment so it’s covered in case of an accident.

It is crucial that you request the details regarding the coverage you intend to apply for. When applying, also try to be as thorough as possible and ask all the questions, including the following. calculator, a pen and a list of numbers on a paper

Tips for the Best Insurance

Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips that will be sure to help you get the best insurance provider for your accessible vehicle.

  1. Look into the minimum requirements for your state.
  2. Keep your financial situation in mind; get a premium that is affordable and one that gives you adequate coverage.
  3. Review your driving record.
  4. If you have coverage already, look at how much you are paying and what is covered.
  5. Make a list of companies that interests you and get quotes from their websites or representatives.
  6. Contact them for further details about the coverage they offer.
  7. Ask about possible discounts and consider using the same company to combine coverage on multiple items (home, boat, etc.).
  8. Evaluate their reliability; read reviews, visit the website of your state’s insurance department. You could also talk to friends and family.
  9. After the last step, you probably have a shorter list; make one final review and pick the policy best for you.
  10. If you were previously covered, don’t forget to cancel your old policy.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been helpful and will make getting insurance for your wheelchair van a lot less stressful. For more on accessible vehicles, feel free to visit our website.

Did you know that AMS Vans now offers one year of complimentary roadside assistance (including paratransit service) with the purchase of a mobility vehicle?! Learn more!

How to Get a Handicap Parking Permit

The handicap parking system is an important public consideration. Anyone who has mobility or health limitations understands how important short walk distances are. Here at AMS Vans, we often discover that customers seeking vans for handicap situations don’t yet have their handicap parking permit or know how to get one. Handicap permits are not hard to get. You simply have to follow the right procedure with a qualifying condition or situation.

Today, we’re here to share how you can get your handicap parking permit temporarily or permanently.

Couple parked in handicapped parking space. Handicap parking permit.

Couple parked in handicapped parking space.

How Do Handicap Parking Permits Work?

The handicap parking permit gives you permission to park in spaces marked with blue and white as handicap spaces. They often have van unloading spaces designated next to them, and all handicap spaces prioritize shorter distances from your vehicle to your destination. Anyone with an eligible medical condition or physical limitation can work with their doctor to be approved for a permit. When you have a permit, vehicles you drive or ride in that display the permit will be able to park in these spaces.

Who Qualifies for a Handicap Parking Permit?

There are many conditions that allow someone to qualify for a handicap parking permit.  Needing a handicap space is considered to include people with visible mobility limitations and people with health problems that make long walks difficult or impossible. This means that far more conditions can qualify for a permit than most people expect. However eligible conditions vary state by state, so check your state handicap eligibility to be sure.

You can also get a handicap parking permit for a temporary condition. Those recovering from surgery or a recent leg injury, for example, can qualify for a temporary parking permit. Pregnant women can also get a handicap permit for the duration of their pregnancy.

The best way to know if you qualify is to talk to your doctor. They can tell your condition qualifies in your state. Here are the most commonly accepted conditions that will qualify for a handicap parking pass:

  • Leg Injuries, Loss, or Impairment
  • Loss or Impairment of Both Hands
  • Lung and Heart Disease
  • Post-Surgery Recovery
  • Arthritis
  • Severe Vision Problems
  • Inability to Walk Without an Assistive Device
  • Brain Injuries and Tumors
  • Chronic Pain
  • Seizures
  • Cancer Treatment
  • Short-Term Memory Loss

How to Apply for Your Handicap Parking Permit

Applying for your permit is a lot easier than you might think. There are usually very few hoops to jump through, you just have to fill out a little paperwork and get it submitted. If you qualify by state standards, your permit will be issued.

  • Verify with Your Doctor
  • Get an Application from the DMV
    • At the DMV
    • Online on the DMV website (print it)
    • From your doctor
  • Complete the Form with Your Information
  • Ask Your Doctor to Complete Their Portion of the Form
  • Submit the Application by Mail or in Person
  • Pay Fee If Required
  • Renew On Time
    • Renewal rate will depend on the nature of your condition
    • Temporary permits usually last 6 months, or until the date noted by your doctor

If you are going to travel out of state, you may want to apply for a temporary handicap parking permit issued to visitors.

Options for Displaying Your Handicap Parking Permit

There are a few different ways to display your permit, and you can choose whichever works best for you. The one everyone recognizes is the tag or placard. This is the tag that hangs on your rearview mirror when you park. Tags usually need to be renewed every 6 months to 2 years. They are also incredibly useful if you aren’t always in the same vehicle. A tag can be stowed in your bag and hung so that any vehicle you drive or ride in can park in handicap spots. Tags are also the most common for temporary handicap situations.

For a vehicle that is the primary transport of a handicap person, driver or passenger, a windshield sticker is a second option. Windshield stickers tend to have longer renewal cycles and don’t have to be hung and taken down. You can get a temporary sticker if you don’t want a tag, and simply remove it when you are well or your handicap passenger is riding with someone else.

Finally, there are license plates with permanent handicap symbols on them. These are usually for the primary vehicles of handicapped drivers. They ensure that your vehicle can always park in the handicap spots.

It should be noted that for vehicles with stickers or license plate permits, the permit is still only valid while the handicapped person is using the vehicle. The permit-holder can be a passenger or a driver, but they must be present for the permit to be valid.

Learn More About Receiving a Handicap Parking Permit

AMS Vans has been dedicated to helping handicap drivers and passengers for over 20 years, and having a handicap parking permit is an important part of that. Once you have your permit, look for the handicap spaces with van unloading areas so you’ll always have the room you need to get in and out of your vehicle. For more information about parking permits or finding the handicap transportation you need, contact us today. The AMS Vans team is here to help.

Handicap wheelchair van

What Makes a Handicap Wheelchair Van ADA-Compliant?

In 1990, Congress signed into a law an historic piece of legislation designed to protect individuals with disabilities. The American with Disabilities Act changed the disabled community forever — particularly with respect to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. And, later, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 changed the way this country made the handicap wheelchair van…

Which is precisely what we’re going to discuss in today’s post. A set of revised, enforceable accessibility standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design outlined specific characteristics for wheelchair vans. These standards improved significantly the safety and security for passengers of adaptable mobility vehicles. Although they are not required in every vehicle, buying a handicap wheelchair van for the ADA-compliant label is an assurance of quality and safety. Continue reading