This page, Benefits for Individuals who are Legally Blind, is part of
This page, Benefits for Individuals who are Legally Blind, is offered by

Benefits for Individuals who are Legally Blind

Once you are registered with MCB, you are eligible for several benefits, including:

Certificate of Blindness

An individual who is registered with MCB (or a family member) may request a copy of a Certificate of Blindness (COB). A COB verifies that the individual is registered with MCB and is needed when applying for tax exemptions and other identification purposes.

To request a copy of a COB, please email BlindnessRegistry@mass.gov  or call (617) 626-7415.  Visit the MCB Virtual Blindness Registry Monday thru Friday from 10 am to 1pm by computer or phone.

Complete the MCB Certificate of Blindness Request Form

Specialized Telephone Equipment Program

Individuals who are legally blind and Deafblind may be eligible for specialized telephones at a reduced cost or for free, depending on income requirements, through the Massachusetts Equipment Distribution Program (MassEDP).

For further information regarding the Program and  eligibility, visit Mass.gov or call (800) 300-5658 Monday thru Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Download an application: https://www.mass.gov/doc/massedp-application/download

Income Tax Exemptions and Deductions

Individuals who are legally blind may be entitled to federal and state income tax exemptions and deductions. When filing tax returns, a current Certificate of Blindness or other medical evidence may be required for verification purposes if an exemption or deduction is claimed.

Real Estate Tax Exemption

Individuals who are legally blind may be eligible for a property tax exemption on a home in which they reside and own. As the amount of the exemption varies, contact the local assessor's office for further details. A current Certificate of Blindness must be submitted.

Automobile Excise Tax Exemption

Individuals who are legally blind may be 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 Blindness is required for this exemption.

Disabled Plates or Placard

An individual who is legally blind 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 name of the individual who is blind. The placard can be used in any vehicle transporting the individual who is blind. Should you have a valid driver's license, you are required to surrender your driver's license at the time of your application.

For further information, visit Mass.gov or contact Medical Affairs at the Registry of Motor Vehicles at 857-368-8020.

Please note that a Certificate of Blindness from MCB is required for disability verification. To request a copy of a COB, please email BlindnessRegistry@mass.gov or call (617) 626-7415. Visit the MCB Virtual Blindness Registry Monday thru Friday from 10 am to 1pm by computer or phone.

Download an application: https://www.mass.gov/doc/application-for-disabled-parking/download

MCB Blindness Identification Card

MCB issues a Blindness Identification Card verifying registration as an individual who is legally blind. Under Massachusetts law, any person/business who accepts a driver's license for the purpose of identification in granting credit or cashing checks, must accept the Identification Card issued by MCB in the same way. Certain bus and train companies grant free or reduced fares to individuals who are legally blind and traveling within the state. As these concessions are not required by law, individual companies may determine their own regulations.

To obtain the Identification Card, please complete the form including your signature with a photo attached. The form can be emailed to BlindnessRegistry@mass.gov or call (617) 626-7415 for more information on how to submit the request.

Visit the MCB Virtual Blindness Registry Monday thru Friday from 10 am to 1pm by computer or phone for additional information.

This Identification Card does not meet all the requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005 Pub. L. 109-13.

Complete the MCB Blindness ID Request Form

MBTA Blind Access CharlieCard Customers

Customers who are legally blind are allowed to ride all MBTA services for free with a Blind Access CharlieCard, which can be obtained from the CharlieCard Store. To receive a Blind Access CharlieCard, you must have a MCB Identification Card. If accompanied by a guide, free travel does extend to the guide.

Many Blind Access CharlieCard holders looking to renew a lost, damaged, or expired Blind Access CharlieCard can do so by calling the CharlieCard Store to request a new card be mailed. Note: When receiving a card by mail, it may be necessary for the CharlieCard Store to deactivate your existing Blind Access CharlieCard. For more information, please call CharlieCard Customer Support at 617-222-3200.

Learn more: https://www.mbta.com/fares/reduced/blind-access-charliecard

MBTA Customer Support

Telephone Customer Support
617-222-3200
TTY 617-222-5146
Monday - Friday: 6:30 AM - 8:00 PM, Saturday - Sunday: 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Online Customer Support:
www.mbta.com/customer_support

What is THE RIDE?

THE RIDE paratransit service provides door-to door, shared-ride transportation to eligible people who cannot use fixed-route transit (bus, subway, trolley) all or some of the time because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability.

Contact the MBTA

Contact the MBTA Office for Transportation Access  with general inquiries, or for fare or THE RIDE account questions:

800-533-6282 (in-state toll-free)
617-222-5123 (voice)
617-222-5415 (TTY)
Email:
theride@mbta.com

Eligibility: Call THE RIDE Eligibility Center at 617-337-2727 (voice, Relay).
www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/accessible_services/default.asp?id=7108

Other Regional Transportation

Regional Transportation Authorities (RTAs) offer public transportation discounts to individuals who have disabilities.  Additionally, RTAs offer paratransit (door to door) services for individuals who have disabilities as mandated under ADA law.  For contact information use the “Living” tab at the top of this page to take you to “Transportation” then “Public Transportation” and click on “Find regional public transportation”.

Additionally, many regional Councils on Aging have transportation services that are available for individuals with disabilities as well as seniors and elders.

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