If you’ve ever tried to get a disabled parking permit before, you know that it can be quite a complicated thing to do. The United States has different disabled parking permit laws and regulations set in place for each state. Depending on what state you live in, you may have to live in a specific city in order to get approved. To make the process a bit easier for Illinois residents, please follow the guide below.
Have the Necessary Qualifications
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you qualify for a disabled parking permit in the first place. Below you will find the requirements specifically for Illinois.
- You can’t walk 200 feet or more without needing to rest
- You have limited mobility due to arthritis, neurological, oncological, or orthopedic condition
- You are missing an arm
- You have limited mobility in at least one arm
- You have a forced expiratory volume of one second due to a severe lung condition
Meter Exempt Parking
If you don’t have the qualifications above, there is something that Illinois has called “Meter Exempt Parking”. This is only available to Illinois residents who have a valid Illinois license. In addition, you need a permit condition that meets the following qualifications:
- Because of your wheelchair or similar device, you’re not able to get to a parking meter
- You’re not able to walk for more than 20 feet without intense mobility impairment
- You’re not able to reach above your head to a height of 42 inches from the ground
- You can’t insert coins in a parking meter due to motor impairment in BOTH hands
- You’re not able to get a ticking into a parking meter due to loss of motor control in BOTH hands
Meet With Your Physician
If you meet the qualifications above, your next step is to meet with your doctor. It is your doctor’s responsibility to certify that you are medically disabled and meet the necessary qualifications. After you’ve met with your physician and they’ve assessed that you are medically disabled, you can then begin the application process.
Both you and your doctor need to complete and turn in an application to the Secretary of State’s office. You can find the application online and print it out when you’re ready to complete it. Either the disabled individual or the physician can turn in the application. If your disability is permanent, you must mail in the application. If it is temporary, you can go into the Secretary of State’s office and get a temporary disability parking place card.
When You’re Approved
If you’ve gotten the stamp of approval for a disabled parking permit in Illinois, it’s important to use the permit correctly to get the most out of it. Make sure you know what type of parking permit you received: permanent or temporary. If you received a temporary permit, it’s important to know that it is only valid for six months. Seldomly, you may receive a temporary permit by accident when you were meant to receive a permanent one. If this happens to you, contact the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
If you receive a permanent disabled parking permit, the state of Illinois requires you to have it hanging from the rearview mirror between the back of the mirror and the windshield of the vehicle.
It has to be visible at all times and can not be used while the vehicle is moving. This can actually get you a ticket for obstruction if you have it hanging while driving. In the event that you do not have a rearview mirror, you can put the permit on the dashboard in a spot where it is clearly visible.
Renewing Your Permit
Your disabled parking permit if permanent is valid for five years. In the event that your place card is stolen or lost within those five years, it will cost you $10 to replace and you can click here to submit an application for a replacement parking permit.
Unfortunately, renewals are not automatic, though the state of Illinois will mail you a renewal notice to give you enough time to get a new one before your current one expires. If you’re ready to renew your parking permit, you must start from the beginning and resubmit and application with your doctor.
Where Can I Find the Secretary of State’s Office?
If you’re needing to get disabled license plates or turn in an application for temporary disably parking, you’ll need to know where your closest office is for the Secretary of State. Fortunately, there are several all throughout the state of Illinois. There are six in the Chicago area alone!
It is common to find at least one in every county, but depending on where you live, there may be more. You can visit this website and enter in your zip code, along with the distance you’re willing to travel from said zip code. This will give you the office nearest you for your convenience.
What About Handicapped Parking Space Abuse?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where not everyone abids by the rules. Because of this, you may see that some individuals abuse the use of a handicapped parking spots. If you see this being done, you can reach out to the Illinois Department of Public Safety. Before contacting them, you will need to write down the vehicles number in the space, along with a description of what you’ve observed.
Obtaining a disabled parking permit in Illinois doesn’t have to be as difficult as it could be if you follow the instructions above. Be sure that you qualify for a permanent or temporary parking permit place card and meet with your primary doctor to get assessed and to fill out the application. It may be important to note that applications can take up to 60 days to get approved. Remember to keep the place card on your rearview mirror or dashboard when the car is parked and you’ll be good to go!