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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: I heard there’s no more automatic free parking if you have a disability placard. Is that true?

Question: I heard there’s no more automatic free parking if you have a disability placard. Is that true?

Answer: Yes, although not until July 1. Hawaii’s Legislature passed a law in 2019 limiting the perk to drivers who have a disability placard or license plate and are physically unable to feed the meter or pay at an unattended station. The coming change doesn’t charge for access to disability parking — your usual disability placard or license plate will still get you that. But if you are parking somewhere that generally charges a fee, you will have to pay it unless you meet the new requirements and obtain a Disabled Paid Parking Exemption Permit.

The state Department of Health’s Disability and Communication Access Board will soon begin issuing DPPEPs to qualified applicants. The revised application form PA-3 should be posted on DCAB’s website (health.hawaii.gov/dcab) by the time this is published, or you can call 586-8121 or email dcab@doh.hawaii.gov to request one.

DCAB explains on its website that to qualify for a DPPEP, an applicant must have a qualifying mobility disability, possess a valid driver’s license and have at least one of the following conditions:

>> Cannot reach above their head to a height of 42 inches from the ground due to a lack of finger, hand or upper extremity strength or mobility.

>> Cannot approach a parking meter due to use of a wheelchair or other mobility device.

>> Cannot manage, manipulate and insert coins, bills or cards in a parking meter or pay station due to a lack of fine motor control in both hands.

The application includes a section for the applicant’s physician or advance practice registered nurse to certify eligibility.

Once issued, the DPPEP will authorize the permittee to park a vehicle in a reserved accessible parking space; in a metered parking space without payment of the fee for the first 2-1/2 hours or the maximum time the meter allows, whichever is longer; or in an area where the parking fee is collected via an unattended pay station without payment of the fee for the first 2-1/2 hours, according to DCAB.

Although the usual temporary disability parking placards (red), long-term placards (blue) and special license plates will no longer provide a parking meter fee exemption as of July 1, “all three permit types will continue to allow a vehicle to park in a reserved accessible parking space and will continue to be issued to applicants with a qualifying mobility disability,” according to DCAB.

Q: What if I don’t have a driver’s license? My daughter drives me.

A: You won’t be eligible for a DPPEP. The presumption is that your driver is physically able to pay the fee. The change does not affect eligibility for a basic disability parking placard or license plate.

Q: If I am going to Oregon for a job interview, will that count as a job search for my Hawaii unemployment claim?

A: “Yes, job interviews both inside and outside the state are considered job search contacts,” the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations says on its website.

Mahalo

A very belated “thank you” to the person in a black car in front of me who paid for my smoothie at McDonald’s on Beretania Street near the Honolulu Museum of Art. After a busy day I stopped at McDonald’s to get a pepper-upper before enduring the 4:45 p.m. traffic going home. With the virus shutdown, the stress of the down economy and a slightly depressed state of mind, you were the light at the end of the tunnel. You were the kind and compassionate person, the true spirit of aloha that is still around, trying to stay connected. You made my day and extended the feeling for many days. Aloha and mahalo from a senior citizen. — M.O.


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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