How To Get a Disabled Parking Badge in Massachusetts
Disabled road users are well catered for in Massachusetts. The Bay State has a sophisticated and well-run disabled parking program, with several types of placards and license plates available that afford their holders special parking rights to greatly improve their quality of life. The disabled parking application process in Massachusetts is straightforward and user-friendly. Here is how to get a disabled parking badge in Massachusetts.
If a person has a disability that makes it necessary for them to use disabled parking in Massachusetts, the first step they need to take is to download an Application for Disabled Parking Placard/Plate form. This form will need to be filled in by both the applicant and a medical professional. The type of medical professional that is qualified to verify a person as needing a disabled placard or license plate in Massachusetts is either a fully licensed physician, a physician’s assistant, a chiropractor, a podiatrist, an osteopath, a registered nurse, or an optometrist for eye conditions.
The examining medical professional will need to verify that the applicant has a qualifying disability. The list of qualifying disabilities in Massachusetts is quite wide-ranging. If a person is “severely restricted in mobility/ability to walk due to a neurological, orthopedic, arthritic, or other medically debilitating qualifying condition,” they will qualify. Similarly, a person qualifies for disabled parking if they cannot walk 200 feet without needing to stop to take a rest; if they are blind or severely visually impaired; if they have a chronic lung disease such as emphysema, asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); if they have any condition that requires the use of a portable oxygen tank; if they have a cardiovascular disease that is classified as Class I–IV by the American Heart Association; or if they have permanently lost a limb or the use of a limb.
The medical professional will also need to state which type of disabled parking badge is required. The types of badge available are a temporary or permanent placard, a license plate, a motorcycle plate, or a Disabled Veterans plate. Placards can be issued to a disabled person who does not have a vehicle registered in their name, and can then be used in any vehicle that the person is traveling in. A license plate for a car, van, or motorcycle can only be issued to an individual who is the primary owner of a vehicle registered in his or her name. A Disabled Veterans license plate can only be issued to a person who is the primary owner of a vehicle registered in his/her name, and has a Plate Letter from the Veterans Administration listing service-connected disabilities that account for at least 60% of their overall disability.
A temporary or permanent disabled placard in Massachusetts is free. License plates for a passenger vehicle cost $60 for two years, and for a motorcycle cost $20 for one year. Disabled Veterans license plates are free.
Once the applicant and medical professional have filled in the form it should be submitted, along with any necessary fee, either in-person to the nearest full service RMV branch office, or by mail to: Medical Affairs, PO Box 55889, Boston, MA 02205.
Once the Medical Affairs branch has processed an application, they will mail the applicant their placard or plates if they have the applicant’s photo on file. If they do not have the applicant’s photo, they will mail an approval notice along with instructions on how to get an appropriate photo taken.
Disabled visitors to Massachusetts from any other state are not required to apply for a Massachusetts disabled placard for use during their stay in the state. Massachusetts recognizes the validity of disabled plates and placards from all other U.S. states, and holders of badges from other states are afforded full disabled parking rights for the duration of their stay.
In Massachusetts, permanent placards are valid for five years, and temporary placards are valid for up to 24 months, depending on the duration of time for which they are required as stated on the application form by the examining medical professional. Both types of placard are free to renew. To renew a temporary placard, a person will need to submit a new application form. Permanent placards renew automatically. Renewed permanent placards are posted to their owner two weeks before the current placard is due to expire.
To replace a lost, stolen, or damaged placard, it is necessary to either request a replacement online, or submit a written request to the Massachusetts RMV at Medical Affairs, PO Box 55889, Boston, MA 02205.