A Guide To Disabled Parking In Massachusetts
Getting access to handicap parking places can be a huge help if you have a disability. With a disabled parking permit, you can easily get more convenient parking spots that allow you to save your energy for other more important tasks in your day. Having a Massachusetts handicap parking permit also allows you to park for free at meters (which is a great added bonus)! If you’re wondering how to get a disabled parking permit in Massachusetts, read on for more information.
Step 1: Determine your qualifying condition.
The first thing you need to do is figure out if you have a qualifying medical condition that can help you obtain a handicap permit. These conditions can include:
- Not being able to walk more than 200 feet without stopping to rest
- Not being able to walk without the assistance of another person, prosthetic aid, or other assistive device
- Being restricted by lung disease (to such a degree that your forced expiratory volume in one second – when measured by spirometry – is less than one liter)
- Needing to use portable oxygen
- Having a Class III cardiac condition (according to the standards set by the American Heart Association)
- Having a Class IV cardiac condition (according to the standards set by the American Heart Association) – drivers with this condition must surrender their license
- Having a Class III or IV functional arthritis (according to the standards set by the American College of Rheumatology)
- Having Stage III or Stage IV anatomic arthritis (according to the standards set by the American College of Rheumatology)
- Being declared legally blind – drivers with this classification must surrender their license
- Having lost one or more limbs or having permanently lost the use of one or more limbs
If you have an illness or injury that limits your mobility in these ways, you could be eligible for a Massachusetts disabled parking permit.
Step 2: Get a medical certification.
In order to verify that you have a qualifying condition, you’ll need to receive a medical certification from a health care professional. You can get one by getting a consultation from a registered and licensed:
- Registered nurse
- Physician’s assistant
- Optometrist (for legal blindness only)
Your medical professional will need to fill out a section of your application. They’ll also need to indicate if you are not medically qualified to operate a vehicle as a driver or if you require a competency road test to see if you’re capable of operating one. They also must acknowledge on the application that your disabled parking permit is a necessity (and is not requested merely for convenience). The application does require them to include their license information and their signature. If you don’t have a medical professional you can turn to, Dr. Handicap can connect you virtually to a licensed physician who can assist you with your application.
Step 3: Fill out and submit your application.
You can get your application at the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) website or at an RMV office. Along with your doctor’s information, you’ll also need to include some of your personal information (address, license number, etc.) and sign the form. There are no fees required (unless you’re requesting a disabled license plate). By signing the application, you’re noting that you intend to follow all the rules of disabled parking in Massachusetts. You can submit your application by mailing it to:
Registry of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Medical Affairs
PO Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5889
You also have the option of submitting it in person to the Haymarket RMV Service Center, which is located at 136 Blackstone Street, 3rd Floor, in Boston.
Step 4: Follow all regulations.
You may receive a temporary placard (if that’s what your doctor recommended) or a permanent placard in the mail. For permanent permits, a new placard will automatically be mailed to you when it expires (so you don’t have to go through the application process all over again). Once you have your placard in hand, you can park in designated handicap parking places and park for free at parking meters. However, there are several rules that you are required to follow regarding disabled parking in Massachusetts.
- You must never allow someone to use your placard if you’re not in the vehicle (even if it’s a family member or friend).
- You must never use more than one placard or provide false information during your application process.
- You must always remember to hang your placard from your rearview mirror when your vehicle is parked – and remove it while the vehicle is in motion.
If you misuse your disabled parking permit in any way, you could be cited a fine as high as $500 (for a first offense) or be faced with a license suspension. The state can also revoke all your disabled parking privileges if you’re caught misusing it. In recent years, the state of Massachusetts has significantly cracked down on disabled parking abuses, so there are extremely high penalties for repeat offenders (with fines as high as $1,000 and a one-year license suspension). They’ve even instituted a Placard Abuse Task Force to help monitor these issues. If you suspect someone of misusing a placard or parking illegally in handicap parking places, you can report them at (855) 963-2580.
Don’t delay getting your disabled parking permit in Massachusetts. You deserve more convenient, accessible parking in your future!