Do you have a disability? Are you wondering if you should get a disabled parking permit? The answer is yes! There are so many benefits to owning a handicap placard, including more convenient and accessible parking to make your life a little easier. The process for qualifying and applying for a permit is fairly easy. Just keep reading for everything you need to know about disabled parking in Montana.
How to qualify
You can start the process of getting a handicap placard or license plate by determining if you qualify under Montana Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) regulations. There are a number of conditions that are considered disabilities, including:
- If you cannot walk more than 200 feet without stopping to rest
- If you are severely limited in your ability to walk because of an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition
- If you cannot walk without the use of an assistive device (such as a brace, cane, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or another person)
- If you use portable oxygen
- If you are restricted by lung disease – to the extent that forced expiratory respiratory volume (when measured by spirometry) is less than one liter per second, or that your arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 mm/hg on room air at rest
- If you have an impairment because of cardiovascular disease or a cardiac condition – to the extent that your limitations are rated as Class III or Class IV under the American Heart Association’s standards
- If you have a disability resulting from an acute sensitivity to vehicle emissions
- If you have a disability from another disease or physical condition that limits or impairs your mobility
There are other conditions that might also qualify you for disabled parking in Montana (such as a lost limb or paralysis). If you’re not sure if your particular disability will qualify, you can check with your doctor or with someone at the MVD for more information. Your doctor will verify your disability and help you determine how long you will be disabled for. If you have a permanent disability, you will be issued a three-year handicap placard. If your condition is expected to improve within six months, you’ll receive a permit valid for six months. If your condition is expected to improve sometime between six months and two years, you’ll be issued an extended special disabled parking permit.
How to get medically certified
In order to complete your application, you’ll need to see a medical professional so they can verify your disability. They’ll then need to fill out the “Medical Certification for an Individual” section on your application. This section can be completed by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, chiropractor, or advanced practice registered nurse. On the application, they can check whether you need a temporary or a permanent permit, and then they’ll need to include their name, type of practice, license number, address, and phone number on the form. They’ll also need to sign and date the application for authentication.
If you don’t have a medical professional that you can work with, or if it’s difficult for you to make it to in-person doctor’s appointments, consider using a site like Dr. Handicap that can connect you directly to a licensed medical professional in your state. Their virtual consultations mean you don’t have to worry about finding someone or getting transportation to an office.
How to complete the application
You can get your application by downloading it from the MVD website. To get started, you’ll need to fill out some personal information, such as your name, driver’s license number, address, phone number, and date of birth. Your medical professional will fill out the appropriate section, and you’ll then be all set to submit. There is no fee for a handicap placard. If you’re interested in getting a disabled license plate, there is a fee, and you can go to your local county office to receive these plates. If your vehicle is registered, you must have documentation of continued eligibility to use a disabled license plate.
You do have a few options of how you can send in your completed form. They include:
- Email: MTDriverHistory@mt.gov
- Fax: (406) 444-3816
- Mail: Motor Vehicle Division
PO Box 201430
Helena, MT 59620-1430
Other important things to know
If you’ve lost your handicap placard at any time, call the MVD at (406) 444-3933 to request a replacement. Otherwise, your permit is valid until the last day of the month and year on the permit. You must submit a new application to renew your permit before the expiration date. If you are no longer disabled (or if the user is deceased), the placard must be surrendered to the MVD.
When using your placard for disabled parking in Montana, remember to prominently display it in the windshield of your vehicle when you’re parked. Make sure you never transfer your disabled parking permit to another person (even if that person is also disabled, it’s illegal to loan your permit to anyone). Any fraudulent activity or abuse of the permit means your permit could be cancelled. With your placard on hand, you can park in designated handicap parking places anywhere in the state. Just remember to read posted signs so that you’re parking in appropriate places and follow the rest of the rules of the road.
Gaining access to disabled parking in Montana is easy if you just follow these steps!