2011 Report of the Register file size 3MB
Massachusetts General laws, Chapter 6, Section 36 requires that all eye care providers report within 30 days all cases of legal blindness to the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB). A person is "legally blind" if his/her visual acuity is, with correction, 20/200 or less in the better eye, or, if, regardless of visual acuity, the peripheral field of his/her vision is reduced to a radius of 10 degrees or less.
Upon receipt of the report of legal blindness from the eye care provider, the MCB Registration Unit will review the report and determine whether the person is legally blind. If so, the newly registered individual and the eye care provider will receive notification of the individual's registration. Unless the eye care provider indicates to MCB that the registrant does not want MCB to contact him/her, a member of the MCB staff will contact the registrant for an appointment to give a complete explanation of the services offered by MCB.
All records and information are strictly confidential and protected by law, except in the case of legally blind persons who hold unexpired driver's licenses. The agency does not release information about registered persons to any other agency, business, or individual without the written consent of the registrant except as required by federal and/or state law.
In an effort to move forward with technology and with encouragement from members of the medical community, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) and The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) have developed a web-based application online service that allows optometrists and ophthalmologists from all over the state to complete and submit the agency’s Mandatory Report of Legal Blindness form online. The medical community and MCB believe that it will be more convenient to complete the reports online as it can be done in a matter of a couple of minutes. Once a doctor is enrolled and has been issued a username and password, it will only take a few minutes to complete and submit the Mandatory Report of Legal Blindness. The agency will continue to accept mailed and faxed paper reports.
To participate in this online service please contact:
Benefits for Legally Blind Individuals
Certificate of Blindness
A consumer may request a Certificate of Legal Blindness from the Commission. The certificate verifies that the person is registered with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. A copy of this certificate is needed when applying for tax exemptions and for other identification purposes. Registered individuals may request a Certificate of Legal Blindness be sent to them by the MCB Central Register.
Income Tax Exemptions and Deductions
Legally blind persons may be entitled to federal and state income tax exemptions and deductions. When filing tax returns, a current Certificate of Legal Blindness or other medical evidence may be required for verification purposes if an exemption or deduction is claimed.
Real Estate Tax Exemption
In Massachusetts, a legally blind person is eligible for a property tax exemption on a home in which he/she resides and owns. As the amount of the exemption varies, contact the local assessor's office for further details. A current Certificate of Legal Blindness must be submitted.
Automobile Excise Tax Exemption
In Massachusetts, a legally blind person is eligible for an excise tax exemption on a vehicle registered in his/her name. Application for this exemption should be made through the local tax department. A current Certificate of Legal Blindness is required for this exemption.
Disabled Plates or Placard
A legally blind person may apply to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for either a Disabled Plate or Disabled Placard. The plate or placard allows parking in designated Handicap Parking areas. In order to obtain disabled plates, the vehicle must be registered in the blind person's name. The placard can be used in any vehicle transporting the blind person. The Commission has the applications and will, upon request, issue the Certificate of Blindness that may be used for verification of disability. Of course, only persons who do not have current driver's licenses may apply for the plate or placard on the basis of legal blindness. Should you have a valid driver's license, you may be required to surrender your driver's license at the time of your application. For further information, contact the local Registry of Motor Vehicles office or visit its website:
The Commission for the Blind issues an Identification Card verifying registration as a legally blind person. Under Massachusetts law, any person who accepts a driver's license for the purpose of identification in granting credit or cashing checks, must accept the Identification Card issued by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind in the same way.
Certain bus and train companies grant free or reduced fares to legally blind persons traveling within the state. As these concessions are not required by law, individual companies may determine their own regulations. Travel on the MBTA is free to legally blind persons displaying the card.
To obtain the Identification Card or for further information, contact the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Central Register Department.
For more information visit the MBTA website.
Special Telephone Equipment Program
Legally blind and deaf-blind Massachusetts residents may be eligible for special telephone equipment through the Massachusetts Equipment Distribution Program. The program offers equipment such as large-button telephones, amplified telephones, signalers, and TTY equipment for deaf-blind persons.
For further information regarding the program and the eligibility requirements, contact:
Massachusetts Equipment Distribution Program at 1-800-300-5658.