How can you tell if a person qualifies for a disability parking permit? The real answer is – you can’t. Over 2.8 million people in Australia have an invisible disability. These are people of all ages and backgrounds. But because you can’t see their disability, they’re often misunderstood and misrepresented or ignored.
The common public perception is that only people who use wheelchairs or other disability equipment qualify for disability parking permits. This is simply not true.
There are many disabilities that can’t be seen just by looking at someone. Examples include MS, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, arthritis, lung disease, fibromyalgia and many more. While these disabilities don’t always necessitate the use of mobility equipment, they do impact people’s ability to walk long distances without difficulty. This is why many people with invisible disabilities quality for disability parking permits.
While the law doesn’t prevent non-disabled people from using accessible facilities, it’s very clear about accessible parking spaces only being used by valid permit holders. This is why many well-intentioned people feel the need to confront drivers when they don’t “look disabled enough” to use the accessible parking spaces.
Remember, every disability is different and they are not always obvious to the casual observer. Assuming someone has obtained their permit fraudulently or using someone else’s permit discourages valid permit holders from using the facilities they not only need, but are entitled to use.
Judge the permit. Not the person.