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New Eligibility Process for the MBTA’s Metro West RTA and The Ride

Posted: January 15, 2013

Recently the team at JCHE’s Shillman House in Framingham was been alerted to new eligibility procedures  for the MTBA’s transit service for people with disabilities who are unable to independently use general public transportation. The program is origin-to-destination, accessible ride service for people who are eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. In the Framingham area the program is called the Metro West RTA and in the Boston and Newton area it is called The Ride. 

What I have found from listening to prospective residents considering the exciting prospect of moving to a Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly community is that a key motivation for making a move is the reality that at some point they will no longer be able to rely on their own automobile for transportation. The assumption by many is that they can be automatically eligible for this MBTA service.  The enrollment process for the MBTA used to be relatively easy to secure: a physician’s documentation and a mail-in application. Today the MBTA requires an in-person assessment before they enroll new riders or re-enroll current riders into the program.

Last week my mother-in-law who has relied on the MBTA’s The Ride for the past five years was concerned when she was notified that she had to appear for a face to face meeting. She asked me if I would go with her and; of course, I made myself available.

Now that I’ve witnessed the in-person assessment, I thought it may be of help to share my experience with you.

The assessment at The Ride Eligibility Center took about 40 minutes. We met with a very nice young man who went above and beyond to make my mother-in-law comfortable.   We were told that the reason the MBTA is making the effort to meet with applicants in person is because many had experienced  difficulties completing the paperwork accurately. Also, the physicians were neither responsive nor consistent with their documentation because they are too busy to give this process the time it deserves. What’s very beneficial is that you know after your in-person meeting that the paperwork is complete and accepted for review.

The job title of the person who conducted the assessment is called a Mobile Coordinator who is trained to conduct the questionnaire and physical review. The Mobile Coordinator will ask your vital information such as your date of birth, contact information and information regarding your disability. It’s helpful to have a list of medicines you are currently prescribed and it may be helpful to have a statement from your health care provider explaining your disability.  The Mobile Coordinator will ask you to conduct a few physical activities such as standing for a period of time, turning around and taking a walk outside the grounds.  The MBTA is required to notify you within 21 days of completion of the application process. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal.

For more information please click on: FAQ In Person Assessment.

This post was written by Scott Brightman. January 15, 2013

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