2014 Disability Parking Rule Change

Due to a new law enacted by the Illinois General Assembly, significant changes have been made to the Persons with Disabilities Parking Program, which affect both new applicants and current disability placard and license plate holders and are outlined below. The recertification for current disability placard and license plate holders will begin in April 2013. Enforcement of the new provisions will begin January 1, 2014.

Secretary of State facilities are not authorized to issue Persons with Disabilities License Plates or permanent parking placards. Disability license plates and permanent placards may only be issued through the Springfield office. For more information, please contact:

Illinois Secretary of State
Persons with Disabilities License Plates/Placard Unit
501 S. Second St. Rm. 541
Springfield, IL 62756

Disabled Parking Placards

If you have a qualifying temporary or permanent disability you may be eligible for a disabled parking placard.

New regulations will no longer allow a person with a disability parking placard to automatically qualify for meter-exempt parking in cities and municipalities.

Disability parking placards are limited to one per person. Placards are only valid until the expiration date indicated on the placard. Failure to properly display a parking placard when utilizing a designated disabled parking space may result in a fine.

The Secretary of State’s office issues four types of parking placards:

  • Meter-Exempt Permanent Placards — Issued to persons with permanent disabilities who have significant impairments that cause difficulty in accessing a parking meter. This placard also allows the authorized holder to park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities such as at a mall, grocery or retail store, etc., and exempts the authorized holder from parking meter fees and time limitations at parking meters that exceed a 30-minute time limit statewide. To be eligible for this placard, the person with the disability must have a valid Illinois driver’s license, and their physician must certify that they meet the criteria as outlined on the certification form. This placard DOES exempt the authorized holder from parking meter fees.
  • Non Meter-Exempt Permanent Placards — Issued to persons with permanent disabilities who still have the ability to access the parking meter and allows the authorized holder to park in spaces for persons with disabilities such as a mall, grocery or retail store, etc. This placard DOES NOT exempt the authorized holder from parking meter fees and time limitations at parking meters.
  • Temporary Placards — Issued to persons with a temporary disability and are valid for the length of time indicated by the certifying physician, not to exceed six months if issued by the Secretary of State and 90 days if issued by a local municipality. This placard DOES NOT exempt the authorized holder from parking meter fees and time limitations at parking meters.
  • Organization Placards – Issued to organizations that transport persons with disabilities free of charge and expire on April 30, 2018. Organizational placards allow the authorized holder to park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities when transporting persons with disabilities. This placard DOES NOT exempt the authorized holder from parking meter fees and time limitations at parking meters.

Disability License Plates

The difference between disability plates and a permanent placard is that the plates must stay permanently affixed to the vehicle for which they are issued. Disability license plates are only issued to: (1) a person with a permanent disability who owns a vehicle (title to the vehicle must be in the disabled person’s name), or (2) a vehicle owner who is parent or legal guardian of a minor with disabilities, or (3) an immediate family member who owns a vehicle, resides in the same house as the person with disabilities and is responsible for transporting the person with disabilities.

Disability license plates allow the authorized holder to park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities such as at a mall, grocery or retail store, etc. These plates DO NOT exempt the authorized holder from parking meter fees and time limitations at parking meters.

Persons with Disability License Plates holders also will be issued either a meter-exempt or non-meter-exempt parking placard. When parking a vehicle displaying disability plates in a designated disability parking space, the placard also must be appropriately displayed in the vehicle when parking in a metered space.

Disabled Veteran License Plates are issued only to veterans who provide proof of a service-connected disability that is certified by a licensed physician. The same parking limitations and parking meter restrictions apply as regular disability license plates.

Corporations, school districts, limited liability companies, nursing homes, convalescent homes and special education cooperatives transporting eligible persons may obtain disability plates on qualifying vehicles as well.

Information on Person’s with Disabilites License Plates

Penalties for Misuse of Disabled License Plates or Parking Placards

The following violations are Class A misdemeanors for a first offense and may result in a fine of up to $2,500, a one year driver’s license suspension and possible confiscation and revocation of the disability parking placard or license plates. Violators may be charged with a Class 4 felony for a second offense which may result in a fine up to $25,000 and possible jail time between one and three years.

  • Using a deceased person’s disability license plates or parking placard
  • Altering a parking placard.
  • Possessing a fake, fraudulent, lost or stolen placard.
  • Duplicating or manufacturing a placard.
  • Selling or otherwise distributing a fraudulent placard.
  • Obtaining a placard or plate under false pretenses.

Nominations to CVO Executive Committee & No December Meeting

We are accepting nominations for the CVO Executive Committee. All nominations must be submitted to the CVO Chair, Bruce Parry, by December 21, 2013. Elections will be held at the January CVO meeting on January 18, 2014. There will be no nominations from the floor.


We are postponing the December membership meeting of CVO due to its closeness to the holidays and the busyness of the season. We would like to extend our Holiday Greetings to all our friends, supporters and their families.


Being a member of the CVO Executive Committee is an important responsibility. The Executive Committee is the Board of Directors of CVO and is therefore legally responsible for its operation. Nomination to the Executive Committee is for a two-year term. The Executive Committee meets as needed, usually four or five times a year, between Membership Meetings. Our next Executive Committee meeting will be on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Being a member of the Executive Committee means working for the benefit of CVO, taking on leadership responsibilities as they may be laid out, ensuring the direction and activities of CVO and ensuring that we are adhering to our Bylaws and established procedures. Nominees for the Executive Committee should be members of CVO in good standing, regular attendees at CVO meetings, and people with the time and ability to make a significant contribution to CVO. The following current members have been nominated for re-election to the Executive Committee: Rochelle Crump, Connie Edwards, Darryl Howard and Taalibdin Shabazz. The Executive Committee may have up to nine members, so we will have four openings on the Committee for new nominees to fill without contesting another member. If you have any questions about being nominated to the Executive Committee, please feel free to call the Chair, Bruce Parry at 773-320-1859 or any other Executive Committee member (Rochelle Crump, Connie Edwards, David Rogers, Charles “Smudge” Coleman, Darryl Howard and Taalibdin Shabazz).

 Happy Holidays!



Bruce Parry
CVO Chair

Next CVO Meeting January 18 2014

The Coalition of Veterans Organizations (CVO) will meet from 10 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturday, January 18th at the Montford Point Marine Association, 7011 S . Vincennes in Chicago. We will be holding elections to the Executive Committee, setting the calendar for 2014, having a report on veteran housing, discussing our response to the cuts in veterans’ cost of living allowance (COLA) recently passed by Congress and more.

As always, coffee and donuts will be served.

See you there!

Article: Female veterans do battle for benefits at home

As more women serve in armed forces, the VA and other agencies gear up to meet their specific needs when they return home

Xatavia Hughes, an Iraqi war vet is looking for a safer neighborhood for herself and two sons. She is in her current home in the Englewood neighborhood on Nov. 6, 2013. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune)

Dec 02, 2013

Chicago Tribune| by Annie Sweeney

When Xatavia Hughes, the granddaughter of a military man, went to serve in Iraq, she was prepared to prove herself to the male soldiers.

“My grandfather was tough and strong. That is how I was brought up: ‘Don’t let it get to you. Show them,'” the 28-year-old mother of two said.

And she did. It was only after she returned from a war zone to Chicago in December 2010 that Hughes began to feel tested.

A month after returning, Hughes found herself in an improbable spot: living in a dorm room at the Pacific Garden Mission, the sprawling homeless shelter on the city’s West Side, shielding her two sons from addicts and criminals.

“Often when I was in shelter there was a bunch of veterans,” Hughes said of her six months of homelessness. “When we get out, I thought we were supposed to be taken care of. And I was like, ‘Wow, this is how our life is going to be?’ I never felt that I would do so much good and then have to be pushed aside.”

Hughes was like so many women over the past decade who stepped up to serve as the country launched two wars. They saw it as a way to get ahead in life and forge a different future.Women have become the fastest growing segment of the veteran population, a trend that is expected to continue. Their return has posed several new issues for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many are single moms. They have been adversely affected by the scandal of military sexual trauma that affects one in five women who serve. They report higher rates of mental health illnesses and homelessness. Many don’t feel comfortable in the male-dominated VA.

And though they already served in dangerous, life-threatening positions, the recent decision to allow women to fight in combat zones means even more are likely to return with complex and severe injuries that need attention.

Local VA hospitals have improved care and increased services for women vets, even down to their design and architectural elements. A new housing complex for veterans with families is scheduled to open next summer, offering some relief. The VA launched a hotline just for female vets in the spring.

And in the latest recognition of the need for services, a long-standing community mental health organization, Thresholds, this year expanded its existing veteran services, assigning more case workers to connect with female vets struggling on Chicago’s streets.

Homelessness, isolation

The need to reach female vets was identified in a May 2012 VA report as “acute,” given the rapid growth of the population, not to mention that they are now suffering injuries similar to male soldiers.

The report cited higher rates of homelessness among women and lower access and enrollment in VA health care.

The Chicago office of Volunteers of America, a long-standing social service agency, already had recognized the new wave of younger veterans with children who were struggling with homelessness, said Nancy Hughes Moyer, president and CEO of the Illinois affiliate.

The organization began looking at the needs of women veterans in 2010 and plans to open a new housing complex for families next summer. The organization also offers gender-specific programming, something Hughes Moyer said is going to be critical as more women return with combat-related injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder and high rates of anxiety.

“We know that is going to increase,” she said. “And they have dependent children.”

Thresholds secured a $350,000 grant to provide a range of services, from therapy to employment assistance, for an even more specific population: female vets with mental health issues.

“They have a lot more going on in their lives,” said Lydia Zopf, director of the veteran’s project at Thresholds, which is running the program. “They are more vulnerable.”

Thresholds offers gender-specific programming, including the option for vets to work with female staff.

Among the Thresholds clients is Hughes, who spiraled into homelessness about a month after returning home. Her $3,500 in savings went to expenses that included moving costs, winter clothes for her boys and “rent” payments to family members who offered her temporary and cramped spaces.

Meanwhile, her anxiety and stress was mounting. Fireworks on the Fourth of July sent her diving for cover. She mourned numerous losses in her unit.

“I was so happy to see my kids, my family,” she said. “But it was bittersweet because a lot of people didn’t get a chance to see their kids. … I felt guilty. I feel guilty.”

Hughes was able to secure a federal veteran housing voucher with the help of a caseworker at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago that let her get out of the shelters and into a Chicago home after about six months.

On a recent rainy afternoon, Hughes was feeling upbeat as she sat on her couch with Rebekah Pulju, a Thresholds social worker. On this visit, Pulju was checking in with Hughes on her current dream: a safer neighborhood for her children. She finds herself worried about the dangerous streets of Englewood and raising her children there. Pulju and others at Thresholds are trying to help find a better location.

“As long as it’s a nice neighborhood. If I find a nice neighborhood (for) my kids — that they can be able to play,” Hughes said. “I don’t even have to have a stove or a refrigerator. We can rent one. We can buy one cheap. Just as long as I have a big backyard.”

Barriers to service

For some returning female veterans, the challenges are especially daunting.

Back inside the Thresholds office on the North Side, Pulju meets with a 29-year-old Chicago woman who served in the Air Force and is currently covered 100 percent by the VA for PTSD. She can’t tell a reporter what happened, only that she knows the military changed her.

“It’s like I was alone,” she said. “I had my family. It felt like I didn’t know them. They didn’t know me anymore.”

Her goals, which she ticks off slowly to Pulju, seem simple yet tragically complicated at the same time.

“Being involved in more things. Getting out there meeting more people,” she said before hesitating for a long pause. “Stop being so isolated.”

In its 2012 report, the VA cited concerns that women were not accessing health care — something vets and experts here also have observed.

Jenny Garretson, the program manager for women veterans at Jesse Brown, said female vets can feel lost. “I can’t tell you how many times I have met a woman vet and she has told me, ‘When I got out of the military I didn’t know anything about the services that were available to me as a veteran or a female veteran,'” Garretson said.

Experts say a female vet who has experienced military sexual trauma would certainly find the busy, male-dominated hallways of a VA facility difficult, if not impossible, to navigate. But even without that type of traumatic experience, others simply don’t feel comfortable.

Inside a cheery Englewood library, Thresholds caseworker Shenetta Wilson, herself a vet, meets with client Francessca Phillips, 32, an Air Force vet and mother of two who has been homeless off and on over the past five years and suffered from depression after her service.

Phillips, who returned in 2004, waited five years before going to the VA. She acknowledges she felt some bitterness about her service — she didn’t get along with her bosses. But she also said it never really occurred to her to seek services at the VA. And then once she did, there were leering men who called out remarks like, “Hey girl, hey hot thing.”

Wilson, who served in Kuwait in the early 2000s, nodded.

“Ladies have been mistreated in different ways, anything as serious as (military sexual trauma) to just the sexism, the rampant sexism,” Wilson said. “It’s a part of the culture. That is not going to change overnight, and most of us accepted that. But when you get out … I have heard a lot of ladies say, ‘I am not a soldier anymore.’ They close that door. They don’t feel like a vet.”

That women have not served in official combat roles — though they are often impacted along with male soldiers — might also explain why they and others are less likely to see themselves as veterans.

“I was never deployed. I never saw any of the Iraqi Freedom action, but it created issues,” said Air Force vet Tessa Clark, 28, who served at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2003 when so many war dead were returned there. “It was hard for me to be in a lot of the veteran places. They are not friendly when you haven’t seen any action.”

Don’t Call Me Mister

Today there are numerous public education campaigns to remind those inside the VA hospitals that women serve too: Pink camouflage bags were passed out at Jesse Brown during breast cancer awareness month. A “Please Don’t Call Me Mister” poster campaign is a gentle reminder to staff not to assume that every surname on a doctor’s patient list belongs to a man.

Rochelle Crump, who served during the Vietnam era in the Women’s Army Corps and who has been an advocate for decades, is pleased to see these efforts by private agencies and the VA.

But Crump still worries.

Crump said she will continue to advocate through her National Women Veterans United organization, which holds information-sharing events for female vets and also recently formed what she think is the only all-female color guard in the state.

“We hold events so that women can feel proud of their service, so they know they are a veteran,” Crump said. “We write ourselves out of history when we don’t.”

© Copyright 2013 Chicago Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Warning: VA ID Cards Are Easily Scanned

Week of November 25, 2013

Anyone with a smartphone and a bar code app can scan any Department of Veterans Affairs identification card issued since 2004 and the cardholder’s Social Security number immediately pops up on the screen. The Department of Veterans Affairs published warnings about the veterans information cards (VICs) on their website in 2011 and again in July, 2013. The alert states, “Some barcode readers, including those available as applications on cell phones, can scan the bar code on the front of the card, and reveal the veteran’s social security number.” VA has begun to work on a new type of card, which will not contain a Social Security number. Meanwhile, veterans should treat their current ID cards as just a careful as they do their Social Security card to prevent identity theft.