Beginning January 1, 2021, qualifying disabled veterans will have an easier process to follow when requesting special Disabled Veteran license plates or distinguishing placards from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

A picture of a sample of a disabled veterans license plate for a vehicle.
Here is a sample of a special Disabled Veteran license plate.

Currently, a disabled veteran in California obtains the plates by securing a disability certification from a medical professional or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA), and then provides it to the DMV, which issues the plates.

To improve and expedite this process, last month Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring the DMV to also accept disability certificates issued by a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) and the California Department of Veterans Affairs. This provides qualifying disabled veterans more convenient options to obtaining their disability certificates for Disabled Veterans plates or a placard(s) from the DMV.  

“As always, CalVet is here to help California’s veterans, and we’re glad to see a more convenient process for obtaining this important benefit,” said Keith Boylan, CalVet’s deputy secretary for Veterans Services. “Our mission and passion is to serve veterans and their families and we will work closely with the CVSOs to make sure that, come January, the process will be simple and accessible.”

However, it is important for disabled veterans to know that until January 1, 2021, neither CalVet nor the CVSOs can issue disability certificates, nor can the DMV accept them from any agency other than the USDVA.

Disabled veterans can obtain the plates free of charge for one of the following: A passenger vehicle, a motorcycle or a commercial vehicle with an unladen weight of 8,000 pounds or less not used for transportation, hire or profit, according to the DMV.

Look for updated information about the Disabled Veterans License Plate program as the New Year approaches by clicking on CalVet’s Veterans Services’ License Plates page.

Click here to find the County Veterans Service Officer nearest you.

Click here for the entire text of AB 408, authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Fairfield, and signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 9, 2020. The California Vehicle Code defines a qualifying disabled veteran here.


  1. Is it possible to obtain DV Plates with a special logo instead of the handicap symbol, as depicted in the image in the article?

    The DMV website implies that it is either-or.


  2. Any response or anyone have luck in obtaining DV plaste with a special logo instead of the handicap symbol?


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