Friday, November 19, 2010

Enabling the disabled

If you remember, I was asked to speak at an MS support group meeting at the end of the summer -and boy, did I enjoy myself. The group was fabulous - and I found myself surrounded by positive, cheery people who seemed to be plugging along with their chronic illnesses just like I am. The experience was super - and I hope they enjoyed my visit to the group as much as I did!

I learned a thing or two while I was there (isn't that always the case...), and I thought I'd share with you two bits of information that the members of the group seemed to be very keen on. Both involve making life easier on ourselves, so take a look and see if you might be interested. I can't speak from experience, as I've never applied for either service - but the group made it sound awfully beneficial for those of us whose mobility has been permanently or temporarily impaired. In fact, there was another woman with lupus who attended the meeting, and she couldn't say enough about the benefits of the disabled sticker she had on her car. It was easy to apply for and receive, and it's helped her primarily to avoid unwanted exposure to the sun in parking lots. Those long walks from the back of the lot really took a toll on her body, as they do many of us when we're flaring - not only the sun, but the joint pain and fatigue combined make for a very taxing activity. And that's before we've even arrived in the store!

Let me know if you have additional questions about the following. I might be able to put you in contact with someone who has experience with the application process. Note that the couple of state DMV sites I googled were very straight forward and helpful - so don't hesitate to google yours first!

Disabled placard for your car - Applying to the DMV for a disabled car sticker seems pretty simple...you just need to complete the application for your state's DMV and you'll need to provide a letter from your healthcare provider, detailing your current state of immobility (or photosensitivity, etc.) My apologies if your state has more red tape than this...but from what the Virginia contingent of the MS group said, it's a very easy process here in "Old Dominion."

Subway disability access, referred to as MetroAccess in D.C. - Applying for a Metroaccess pass ( a shared-ride, door-to-door, transit service for people whose disability prevents them from using bus or rail) here in the D.C. metro area seems to be a little more cumbersome, but again, the folks in the MS support group couldn't stop singing the praises of (and the needed relief provided by) the disabled access service for the subway system. One of the qualifying eligibility requirements is that you be unable to travel to or from a bus stop or rail station due to a disability, and again, you'll need to provide a health care provider's letter. It also appears that there is an interview process involved for Virginians...but be sure to check out the website to confirm. If you need to use the metro, but have limited mobility and could use the help of door-to-door transportation to and from the metro, this could be the ticket!

2 comments:

Gale in Alaska said...

I have the parking access pass as hanger and license plates on my primary car. I had to swallow a big gulp of pride and vanity but my doctor wants me to stop falling down. If I am blessed with mobility and less pain day I don't have to use the space. But it makes a trip to store possible on slow pain days or icy adventures. Use all your tools for living: take medicine correctly, take a nap, buy great hats and get a parking access pass. Gale

Anonymous said...

So happy you passed this info along! I know my handicapped tag has saved the day for me when my lupus fatigue hits. I often get in a big-box store and wonder if I can make it to my car. If I wasn't parked right up front, i'd be in trouble! Ann