Anger at In-law Using Illegal Handicap Sticker

By Amy Dickinson | May 19th, 2023

The angry woman wants her husband to confront the user

A woman resents her brother-in-law using an illegal handicap sticker and demands that her husband step in. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises in “Ask Amy.”

A woman resents her brother-in-law using an illegal handicap sticker and demands that her husband step in. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises in “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

I have been happily married for 39 years. The few “disagreements” we’ve had always seem to center around my husband’s family.

The latest has to do with my brother-in-law. He has always had a very entitled attitude. When my mother-in-law passed away in 2020, the car she recently bought was taken over by him. I was fine with that.

However, she also had a handicap parking permit that was issued to her by the state of New York due to her deteriorating health issues. My husband’s brother has chosen to use that permit illegally for the past two years.

I have always suspected the fraud but didn’t want to accuse him and cause problems in the event that he had gotten his own permit.

This past week he left the area to visit another relative and his car was left in our driveway while he was away. After checking the tag through the window, I confirmed that he has been illegally using my mother-in-law’s handicap permit tag. This left me furious.

Not knowing where the keys to the vehicle were, I asked my husband to please remove the permit from his brother’s vehicle since he shouldn’t be using it.

My husband refused, saying he didn’t feel he had the right to remove something from someone’s vehicle without their permission.

I felt my husband is enabling him to continue this abuse. I am disappointed and have lost a lot of respect for my husband, who I love dearly, over this.

I’d appreciate your opinion as to whether I am overreacting in this matter.

— Annoyed!

Dear Annoyed!:

I can understand why you are so annoyed by your brother-in-law’s choice to use his late-mother’s handicap permit, but I agree with your husband that it is not his place to remove it.

I do believe you are overreacting to this, but I assume that this episode is a placeholder for other in-law annoyances you’ve experienced over the years.

Furthermore, you are blaming the wrong person for this! Your husband is refusing to do something you have told him to do. He is standing up to you, and yes — you don’t like it, but he has the right to discern and make choices based on his own values; and in this case I happen to agree with him.

Now that your brother-in-law has left his car in your driveway for an extended period, you have a legitimate reason to tell him that you’re aware of this and that it bothers you.

In my opinion, he should be deeply embarrassed to be scamming off of a dead woman’s infirmities in this way, when doing so also denies others with legitimate needs the ability to use a parking spot reserved for them.

This is from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website: “The plates and permits may be used to park in reserved parking spaces only when the person with the disability rides in or drives the vehicle.”

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from resentment of illegal handicap sticker use to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

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