Handicap parking consist of the extra-wide parking spaces next to ramps and doors. A handicap parking space is (in the US, at least) marked by a blue curb. Often there's also a symbol with a stick figure in a wheelchair painted on the ground as well. Usually the state specfies that a commercial space needs to have so many handicap parking spaces based on the size and capacity of that commerical space.
Non-handicapped people parking in handicap spots are subject to heavy fines and having their cars towed.
Sometimes when I take my grandmother places, I park in a handicap spot. This always makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Especially when she can't walk back to the car with me and everyone sees this seemingly healthy, young guy get into the car by himself.
whizkid: Here in California we too have parking permits. They're blue and made of some kind of plastic that curls in the sunlight. It's just that out here, fraud is so prevalent and parking is so scarce, I get dirty looks from strangers even when my grandmother is hanging off of my arm.
But I do agree with you, disabled parking is a very great and beneficial boon for those who need it.