How to Get a Montana Disability Placard (and Who’s Eligible)

In order to use a handicap parking space in Montana, you need to have a qualifying medical condition and complete a quick application.
Written by Nathan Porceng
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
Handicap placard regulations in Montana require drivers who desire to park in accessible parking spaces to meet certain medical criteria and obtain a temporary or permanent disability parking placard or handicap license plates.
Over 13% of Montana residents have some sort of disability. Like all states, Montana requires that designated handicap parking spaces be allotted for individuals with impaired vision or mobility. However, navigating the state’s eligibility requirements and application process can be difficult for first-timers.
Fortunately, we've created a guide on how to get a Montana disability placard and who qualifies.
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How to get a disabled parking placard or plate in Montana

You must obtain one of the following to park in a designated handicap space in Montana: 
  • temporary disability parking placard (valid for six months)
  • An extended temporary disability parking placard (valid for 24 months)
  • permanent disability parking placard or license plates (valid for five years)
Your disability placard or plates will feature the International Symbol of Access, widely recognized by its blue-and-white stick figure with a wheelchair. However, in Montana, you don’t need to be confined to a wheelchair in order to be eligible for a disability parking placard or plates. 
In fact, there are several conditions affecting your vision or mobility that qualify. Read on to learn more about Montana’s eligibility requirements for handicap parking.

Who’s eligible for a disability parking placard?

To obtain a disability parking placard or disability license plates, individuals must have a documented medical condition affecting their vision or mobility. Montana considers the following to be qualifying conditions:
  • An orthopedic, neurological, or arthritic condition limits your ability to walk
  • You cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
  • You require another person or an assistive device to walk
  • You use portable oxygen
  • Lung disease restricts your breathing
  • Cardiac disease limits your mobility
  • You have a disability aggravated by automobile emissions
Say you fell off your horse and need crutches for a few months while you recover. As long as your physician certifies your condition, you’re eligible for a six-month disability parking placard, granting you access to designated handicap parking spaces until your mobility is restored.
Not all conditions are so obvious, though. Maybe you need a friend or a loved one to help you get around, or you have a lung condition that makes even a trek across the parking lot difficult. In that case, you can apply for a permanent disability parking placard that’s good for five years.

How to apply

You must fill out an
application (Form MV5)
to obtain disability parking placards or plates. The form is not particularly challenging, but you must fill it out carefully to ensure you gain approval.
You’ll first need to provide your identifying information, such as your name, address, driver’s license number, and phone number. Then, select what you’re applying for: 
  • Temporary disability placard 
  • Extended temporary disability placard
  • Permanent disability parking placard or license plates
Your medical provider will need to complete a certification of disability. This portion of the form affirms your qualifying medical condition. It may be completed by any state-licensed physician, physician’s assistant, chiropractor, or advanced practice registered nurse.
Completed applications can be mailed to your county treasurer’s office or to a
Montana Motor Vehicle Division office
. Montana does not charge any fees for disability parking placards or license plates.
Key Takeaway To obtain a disability parking placard in Montana, your qualifying condition must be certified by a state-licensed physician, physician’s assistant, chiropractor, or advanced practice registered nurse.

Renewing a disability parking placard

Unlike other states, Montana requires that your medical provider re-certifies your qualifying medical condition every time you renew your disability parking placard or license plates. To renew your placard or plates, you must complete and submit the same form as you did for your initial application. 
  • Permanent disability parking placards and license plates must be renewed every five years.
  • Temporary disability parking placards must be renewed every 6 months
If your medical provider assesses that you will require a disability parking placard for longer than six months, you may apply for an extended temporary disability parking placard. Extended disability parking placards may be issued for up to 24 months
Renewing your temporary disability parking placard requires submitting the same application form and physician’s certification as you initially did.

Guidelines for veterans with disabilities

Disabled veteran plates allow you to use specially designated parking spots while recognizing you for your service.
To obtain disabled veteran plates, you must provide a letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that you are currently rated 100% disabled due to a service-related injury or illness. 
If you received the Purple Heart, you may get Purple Heart disabled veteran plates as long as you are rated at least 50% disabled and your DD-214 verifies that you received the medal. 
Qualifying veterans are also eligible for waived vehicle registration fees. You may only use the disabled veteran fee exemption on two vehicles at any given time.
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FAQs

No. To renew disability placards or license plates, you must mail your paperwork to Montana’s Motor Vehicle Division. Temporary disability placards must be renewed every six months, except for extended temporary disability placards, which are good for 24 months. Permanent disability placards and license plates must be renewed every five years.
Montana does not charge a fee for disability placards or license plates.
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