In the event of disability, individuals who need parking privileges are given placards that give them access to disability spots. Recently, investigators have found that there is abuse of disability parking in the City of Boston. According to reports, some drivers are using placards of deceased relatives, or using placards meant for disabled individuals out of state. While the parking stress throughout Boston impacts us all, the abuse of placards is an injustice to those who truly depend on access to disability parking.
The state Inspector General in collaboration with police and the Registry of Motor Vehicles uncovered widespread abuse of disability parking placards. Our Boston SSDI attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of individuals who suffer from disability. We are committed to helping disabled persons and their families collect SSDI benefits and in raising awareness to protect the disabled of our community. The exposure of the abuse comes after months of surveillance and data collection by investigators.
Disability placards give holders the right to display the placard and park in designated spaces free of charge. The meter exemption could potentially save a Boston driver up to $6000 in parking costs a year. This is not only a huge incentive for drivers, but the previous lack of enforcement encourages unauthorized use.
According to reports, the investigators checked placards against vehicle data and found that nearly 100 vehicles were not driven by the individual assigned to the placard. Three drivers had placards belonging to dead drivers; eight drivers had placards belonging to those out of state, and several drivers were using placards for individuals who were not riding in the vehicle. Each of the drivers were given citations and fined $500.00. During the investigation, the State Police retrieved and confiscated 13 disability parking placards.
New policies are looking at ways to discourage these abuses and to penalize offenders. One law would make using a dead person’s disability parking card a criminal offense. The newly published report also recommends that the Legislature require drivers to return placards that have been canceled. Users may also face criminal penalties for using an unauthorized card. Currently, in addition to fines and penalties, state law also requires driver’s license suspension for 30 days if found guilty of misusing a disability placard.
While increasing penalties may seem aggressive to offenders, new laws and policies will hold abusers responsible. For individuals who suffer from disability, the abuse could result in lack of parking and a general inability to rely on disability parking spots at all. For disabled persons who rely on the parking and meter exemption to run errands and go to work, unauthorized use can be a serious impediment. In general, the new report has recommended a general increase in penalties and a tightening of administrative control to ensure more oversight of the system. The system has always had the potential for abuse and has been under investigation before. There was a previous crackdown on disability parking abuse in 2010. Other investigations occurred in 2009 and 2007.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Boston Disability Lawyers Analyze the Social Security 2013 Trustees Report, June 5, 2013, Boston Social Security Lawyer Blog
SSDI Ticket to Work Program Aims for Recipient Financial Independence, July 7, 2013, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog