Drivers with Disabilities in Massachusetts
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Massachusetts offers three options to disabled drivers that will allow them to qualify for handicapped parking and other privileges:
- Disability plates: Disability plates are issued only to people with disabilities who own vehicles and have their names on the vehicle titles, or to parents, spouses or legal guardians of family members with disabilities.
- Disability veteran plates: Same as disabled plates, only with a veteran's designation. These are available only to veterans who already qualify for or hold disability plates. You must have a letter of support from the Veterans Administration to obtain these plates.
- Disability placard: Placards are temporary and/or portable disability designations for motor vehicles. These can be issued to qualified disabled persons who do not own vehicles or to drivers who may only be temporarily disabled.
To obtain Massachusetts disability plates, a placard or a disabled veteran plate you must be a Massachusetts resident. Also, a Massachusetts registered and licensed doctor, chiropractor, or nurse practitioner must certify that you meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest.
- Cannot walk without the assistance of another person, prosthetic aid or other assistive device.
- Are restricted by lung disease to such a degree that your forced (respiratory) expiratory volume (FEV) in one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter.
- Use portable oxygen.
- Have a Class III cardiac condition according to the standards set by the American Heart Association.
- Have a Class IV cardiac condition according to the standards set by the American Heart Association. If you're in this condition you must surrender your driver's license.
- Have Class III or Class IV functional arthritis according to the standards set by the American College of Rheumatology.
- Have Stage III or Stage IV anatomic arthritis according to the standards set by the American College of Rheumatology.
- Have been declared legally blind (please attach a copy of certification). If you're in this classification, you must surrender your driver's license.
- Have lost one or more limbs or permanently lost the use of one or more limbs.
To apply for a Massachusetts disability plate or placard, you can download the
application form or call the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
telephone center and ask for one to be mailed to you. You can also obtain an application at any RMV office.
Take the completed form and supporting documents to the nearest RMV office or mail them to the following address:
- Attn: Medical Affairs Branch
- Registry of Motor Vehicles
- P.O. Box 55889
- Boston, MA 02205-5889
Give yourself at least 30 days of waiting time once you turn in the completed application. The RMV will notify you by mail of the decision on your application. But you don't want to find yourself needing the plate or placard sooner than 30 days or you might be stuck.
Should your plates or placard be lost, stolen or damaged, you can apply for a duplicate by mail (as long as your photo is in the database). You will need to submit a written request with an explanation to the address above and include: your name, address, Social Security number, DOB, and the date that the original was issued or the number of the placard.
- Disability plate: Standard $36 for a two-year registration.
- Disability motorcycle plate: Standard $20 for a one-year registration.
- Disability placard: No fee.
- Disability veteran: No fee.
Disability plates and veteran disability plates are renewed by the same process as standard Massachusetts license plates.
Placards can be issued as temporary or permanent. Placards issued for five years are considered permanent. The RMV will mail a renewal notice to the placard holder about 60 days before the expiration date. To renew the placard, all you need to do is note any appropriate changes, sign and date it and mail it back to the RMV. You should then receive another five-year placard by mail within seven to 10 days.
Placards issued for a period of two to 24 months are considered temporary and will require certification from your doctor, chiropractor or nurse practitioner that the parking benefit needs to be extended or made permanent. You will need to reapply to the RMV yourself and include the updated certification from the medical professional.
Disability plates and placards can only be used by the designated recipient of the plate or placard. Get caught letting anyone else use it and you might have the plate or placard suspended for 30 days and/or be subject of a fine up to $1,000.
Massachusetts cities and towns honor out-of-state disability plates and placards. Likewise, the disabled plates and placards of Massachusetts residents are honored in other states.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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