Tag Archives: handicap

ADA

AMS Vans Joins the Disability Community in Celebrating 30 Years of the ADA

This July marks the 30-year anniversary of the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). While current conditions may not allow for the massive parades and gatherings that were planned for this summer, AMS Vans, along with the disability community, still proudly celebrates three decades of the passing of legislation that has made our world much more accessible.

Basics of the ADA
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990, after decades of dedication and advocacy by people with disabilities (PWDs) and their allies nationwide. According to dol.gov, the ADA “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government’ programs and services.” 

Before the ADA, it was extremely uncommon, and in most cases unimaginable, to see modifications or original design in public areas that accommodated people with disabilities. Things we take for granted today like curb cuts, electric door openers, wheelchair lifts on buses, and accessible bathroom stalls weren’t there yet. So, while versions of personal-use wheelchair accessible vehicles had been available for some time, chances are the destination wouldn’t be accessible when you got there.

Did you know? An estimated nearly 57 million people in the U.S. alone have a disability and around 30 million of those have difficulty walking or standing. Over 3.5 million use a wheelchair for mobility. That’s a lot of people the ADA protects!

Over the years, amendments to the ADA have been made, including better clarity to the definition of disability, and added protections for telecommunications and other mandatory accessible features, like swimming pool lifts. As PWDs achieved increased access to the world, they naturally became more visible in society. With that, the opportunity to change assumptions. Soon, markets became more viable, and we saw the development of complex assistive technology, accessible travel options, adaptive clothing, and eventually, representation in film, books, and media.

While we believe in celebrating all the achievements and improvements, though, we recognize that there is still work to be done. Discrimination still exists and the disability community is often the most vulnerable in emergency situations like natural disasters or public health crises.

Ideas for Celebrating the ADA Virtually
The unforeseen obstacles of 2020 have made it difficult, or even impossible, for the disability community to gather, like usual, at Abilities Expos, disability fairs, support groups, and sporting events. Some may even know loved ones that are in the hospital right now, without the ability to have visitors. That’s why it’s so important that we all find a way to celebrate this important milestone for our community with the tools we have available!

Education
The best way to reduce discrimination and increase access is through education! As a person with a disability, it’s vital to know your rights, and as a person who owns a business or works in public service, you can make this world more accessible by ensuring your establishment is more than compliant. To learn more about the ADA, including a detailed definition of the law and regulations, design standards, technical assistance materials, and more, visit ADA.gov.

The ADA Legacy Project is another great resource for continuous education about disability history, current news, advocacy opportunities, and much more. You can connect and follow along with them on Facebook here. (facebook.com/ADALegacy)

ADA Live! can also be a fantastic educational tool with information offered in an alternative format. It’s a free monthly podcast available nationally online. Listeners can learn about their rights and responsibilities under the ADA as leaders in the field share their knowledge, experience, and successful strategies that increase the participation of PWDs in communities and businesses. (https://www.adalive.org)

Getting Involved
While volunteering in person may not be an option for some, you can still get involved with your local disability organization by donating money or skills that could benefit their mission. Virtual skills could include marketing, accounting, web and graphic design, content creation, and more. These local organizations, such as independent living centers, disability resource centers, and adaptive sports clubs, really improve the lives of PWDs in your community and need all the help they can get.

Political and social advocacy is also a way to get involved to protect the rights of PWDs. Stay up-to-date on proposed legislation that impacts public access or civil protections for PWDs and take the time to contact your senators and representatives to remind them not to forget the needs of our community. Learn more about getting involved here from the national leaders in advocacy for the mobility community, United Spinal. (https://unitedspinal.org/action-center/)

Reach Out and Lift Each Other Up
Now, more than ever, we need to reach out to friends in the disability community to check on them and offer support. Give a fellow buddy on wheels a call or set up a video group chat to catch up and share stories, frustrations, and concerns. Maybe help spread the word about a fundraising campaign someone you know is running for an accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment. The feeling of community can really help.

At AMS Vans, we’re proud to serve the disability community and are committed to unparalleled customer service and compassion for our customers. Happy 30th Anniversary of the ADA!

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.