Disability Discounts: Help with Car Expenses


Artwork: Robin Mead

Many states offer discounts and benefits for car owners with disabilities. Below are a few example programs we found.

If you learn of other programs in other areas, please comment at the bottom of this page. If any links on this page stop working, please let us know:

🌷 Virginia offers free or discounted parking to people with handicap license placards.

🌷 Pennsylvania offers reduced car registration if you are “retired” and collecting Social Security (regardless of age). Younger people with disabilities can qualify.

🌷 Illinois offers reduced fees for licensed plates for people with disabilities.

🌷 Colorado has a program that assists with fees for renewing driver’s licenses.

🌷 New Jersey offers a small discount on registration and title fees.

🌷 Texas offers exemption from sales tax on a car owned or used by a person with disabilities.

🌷 Hawaii, California, and New Jersey offer low income auto insurance.

🌷 Virginia offers reduced car taxes in many areas. Here’s examples from Fairfax County and Prince William County Also, ask if this discount can be applied retroactively (if you can be reimbursed for past years).

Find More Programs

🌷 Some cities offer free or discounted parking to people with handicap license placards. Inquire with your local transit authority or Department of Motor Vehicles.

🌷 Some areas provide discounts for people with disabilities who need car registrations, license plates, or driver’s license renewals. To see if your area has programs that help with car expenses, try contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles, Community Action Agency, United Way, and Area Agency on Aging. You can also try dialing 2-1-1 on your phone.

🌷 In some states, you do not have to pay sales tax on a car owned or used by a person with disabilities. This may be able to be applied retroactively (if you already bought the car). Check with your state’s comptroller’s office.

🌷 Many states offer free car repairs if your car fails and emissions test and you are low income. Here’s examples in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Saving Money

🌷 Here’s a good article on where to look for Low Cost Auto Repair. Not possible in all areas.

🌷 Plus some Tricks to Save Gas Money

Vehicle Modifications

🌷 Vehicle modifications might include wheelchair lifts or other modifications to help a disabled person drive or ride as a passenger.

🌷 Check agencies that provide home modifications in your area. Some of these may be able to assist with car modifications as well.

🌷 In some areas, state home aide programs will come with an added benefit: funding for home and vehicle modifications. This will not buy a car or van itself, just the modifications. Learn more about Extra Benefits for People in Medicaid Waiver Programs

🌷 Many car brands will give mobility assistance with purchase of a new car. Rose (one of our writers) got $1,000 for a wheelchair lift from Honda’s Assistance Program.

Handicapped Parking

🌷 If you have difficulties with walking or mobility, handicapped parking placards will allow you to park in disability parking spaces. You do not need to be in a wheelchair.

🌷 Handicap parking placards are generally very easy to apply for. Your doctor signs a simple form and you mail it in. Voila!

🌷 Learn more: Primrose Get a Disability Parking Placard.

Designated Parking Spots

🌷 Some areas will allow you to apply to have a designated disability parking space in front of the house or apartment where you live. It won’t be designated just to you – any disabled person would be able to park there.

🌷 Here’s an example of an application from a city in Iowa.

Lose the Car

Many people who are disabled and low-income chose not to own a car. A car can be a huge financial drain, plus a physical burden to maintain.

🌷 Here’s some more options for free and low cost transportation for people with disabilities: Transportation for Spoonies

🌷 How to Get Free Transportation to Your Local Doctor

🌷How to Get Free Medical Travel (Plane, Trains, Hotels, etc)

SSI Warning

🌷 If you are on SSI, owning two cars can cause problems. This most often comes up for married couples. You can own one car and it will not impact SSI. However, if you own a car, and your spouse also owns a car, problems can happen! How to Own Two Cars on SSI

🌷 This warning is for SSI only. If you are on SSDI, you can own a million cars.

Learn More

More bright ideas for How to Be Poor in America

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

Updated May 2019. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

12 thoughts on “Disability Discounts: Help with Car Expenses”

  1. I am in Flagstaff Arizona and I have been impacted with several problems one is Phoenix arizona or any city do not help or service people in other city or county period.. i.have car repair needs and replacement bumper for front of car 2. I.am about to do part time job but needs to be fixed first before driving again 3. I have disability yes and back pain and breathing difficulties when walking must drive nobody will help me at all I need help


  2. Do you have advice on how to BUY a car while on SSDI? I can’t figure out how to get the downpayment. I will be able to afford to own one once I do though. I live in central Florida, and there aren’t any programs that donate vehicles here. Public transportation sucks here. Not having my own vehicle is very isolating. Any suggestions?


  3. While waiting for the last back pay deposit would someone co signing a bank loan for a car cause problems with the ssa?


        1. Ok, person who is on SSI is wanting to co-sign someone else’s loan?

          A loan won’t matter but….

          If their name goes on the car title, it will be considered owned by them. That could cause a variety of problems.

          Also, if the money goes into their bank account that could be a little complicated.

          If it’s just a loan, no money to them and no name on car title, that might be ok.


          1. oops, no. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
            The owner would be me on SSI. I don’t have much credit history so I’m guessing the bank would need a cosigner for approval.


            1. Oh I got it backwards 🙂

              I’m not seeing a problem… if you or spouse owns another vehicle that can be an issue….

              Loan shouldn’t impact SSI as long as it doesn’t sit in your bank account… gets spent immediately.


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