Disabilities Guidebook: State of Illinois Disabled Person Identification Card

Disabilities Guidebook: State of Illinois Disabled Person Identification Card
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Last updated: October 2012

(Chapter 2 Section 5 from Guidebook of Laws and Programs for People with Disabilities)

 

Illinois Identification Card Act

What is it? The Illinois Secretary of State issues a special state ID card to persons with certain disabilities. The Act covers various aspects of the law concerning this card including: application, eligibility, fees, and use of the card.

What is its purpose? To create a card that can serve as proof of disability, whenever proof is needed to access certain services, programs, or activities. The card also serves as a photo ID for people who do not have a driver's license.

Who can be helped by this law? Anyone who lives in Illinois and has a qualifying disability under the Act.

I. Your Legal Rights

The State ID Card: Why You Want It and How to Get It

The Purpose of the State ID Card
If you have a certain kind of disability, you may qualify for a "Person with a Disability Identification Card." This is a photo ID given by the State.

The card may be used for identification purposes, in the same manner as a driver's license. In addition, the card may be used as proof of disability when such proof is required under any State law. If you have this card, you do not usually need to present further medical documentation of your disability. If you desire, the card may contain medical information that could be helpful in emergency care.
Examples: You may present your Person with a Disability ID card when applying for a special license plate or parking decal for people with disabilities, applying for a property tax exemption, or to obtain reduced camp site fees at state parks.

Who Qualifies for the Card?
You qualify for the card only if you meet the definition of "person with a disability" under the Act.

The term "person with a disability" means any person who is, and who is expected to indefinitely continue to be, subject to any of the following five types of disabilities.

The five types of disabilities are:

Physical Disability. A physical loss, impairment, or disease, of a permanent nature, which substantially limits physical ability or motor skills.

Developmental Disability. Developmental disability means a disability that is attributable to: (i) an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or autism or (ii) any other condition that results in impairment similar to that caused by an intellectual disability and requires services similar to those required by persons with intellectual disabilities.  Such a disability must originate before the age of 18 years, be expected to continue indefinitely, and constitute a substantial handicap.

Visual Disability. A visual disability is blindness, and the term “blindness” means central vision acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.  An eye that is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision so that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees shall be considered as having a central vision acuity of 20/200 or less. 

Hearing Disability. A disability that results in complete absence of hearing, or that, even with a hearing aid, results in hearing so impaired that you need other kinds of sensory input as the principal means of receiving spoken language.

Mental Disability. A mental disability is a significant impairment of an individual’s cognitive, affective, or relational abilities that may require intervention and may be a recognized, medically diagnosable illness or disorder.

How To Obtain a Disabled Person Identification Card
You can obtain the card from the Illinois Secretary of State. Although the State charges a fee for certain types of ID cards, there is no fee for the Disabled Person Identification Card. You will be required to submit an application on the form supplied by the Secretary of State. The application includes your legal name, address, Social Security number, gender, height, weight, hair color, eye color and date of birth. The completed form will require certification from your physician as to the nature and severity of your disability. Your doctor must state the type of your disability (physical, developmental, visual, hearing or mental) and class of your disability (see discussion of “class” of disability below). Once issued, the card expires in 10 years. You can apply for a one-time renewal, within 30 days after the expiration of the I.D. card. There is no fee to renew and the renewal is valid for another 5 years. Any other application that you file after that is considered an application for a new card.

Rejection, Revocation or Denial of an Identification Card
Your application for an identification card may be denied if the Secretary of State believes that the information you supplied is false or incomplete, or that you are not eligible for it. If you already hold a card, it may be revoked if the Secretary of State believes that:

  • You supplied false information;
  • You are not a person with a disability as defined in the Act, or you have failed to prove you are a person with a disability;
  • You have used the card for a fraudulent purpose; or
  • You have allowed someone else to use your card.

Grouping Your Disability

Classification of Disability

Your doctor must certify and the card will state the class of your disability.

Class 1: Any type of disability which:

  • Does not prevent you from engaging in some substantial gainful activity; or
  • Does not impair your ability to live independently or to work.

Class 1A: Just like a Class 1 disability, but in addition, your disability prevents you from being able to walk 200 hundred feet or more without:

  • The assistance of another person;
  • The use of a walker, crutches, brace, wheelchair or other device; or
  • Great discomfort or difficulty.

A Class 1A disability must be due to any of the following impairments: neurologic, orthopedic, respiratory, cardiac, arthritic, blindness or loss of function or absence of a limb.

Class 2: Any type of disability which:

  • Prevents you from being able to engage in substantial gainful activity;
  • Substantially impairs your ability to live independently without supervision or in-home support services; or
  • Substantially impairs your ability to perform labor or services for which you are qualified or significantly restricts the labor or services you are able to perform.

Class 2A: Just like a Class 2 disability, but in addition, your disability prevents you from being able to walk 200 hundred feet or more without:

  • The assistance of another person;
  • The use of a walker, crutches, brace, wheelchair or other device; or
  • Discomfort or difficulty.

A Class 2A disability must be due to any of the following impairments: neurologic, orthopedic, respiratory, cardiac, arthritic, blindness, or loss of function or absence of a limb.

Other Things to Know

Once you obtain a card, you are required to notify the Secretary of State in writing of any change in your:

  • legal name (within 30 days after the change);
  • address (within 10 days after the change) or
  • type or class of disability (within 60 days after the change).

The Secretary of State then will issue a corrected card.

The Secretary of State may not disclose your medical information to any person, public agency, private agency, corporation, or governmental body without a court order unless you submit a written request for the information or unless you have given prior written consent for the release of the information to a specific person or entity.

It is a crime to unlawfully use the I.D. card. For example, you cannot possess or display a canceled or revoked card, let another person use it, or display a fake or altered card. There are serious criminal penalties for these offenses. 

II. How to Protect or Enforce Your Rights

Where To Apply for the ID Card
You should contact the Secretary of State's Office at 800-252-8980 (toll free in Illinois), or consult your phone book for the location of your Secretary of State Drivers License facility, or look online regarding Secretary of State locations.

Appeal of the Denial or Revocation of an Identification Card
In the event that your identification card is denied or revoked, you have the right to file an appeal and have a hearing. The hearing officer is appointed by the Secretary of State. You are entitled to be represented by an attorney and you will be allowed to present witnesses and other evidence. You may review all of the evidence relied on by the Secretary of State. Following the hearing, the agency will issue a written decision.

If you disagree with the decision made at the hearing, you may file a complaint in the Illinois Circuit Court of the county where you live. This complaint must be filed no later than 35 days after the date that the hearing decision was issued. A state judge will then review the decision.

III. Where to Go for More Information

Statutes and Regulations
The Illinois Identification Card Act provisions regarding the issuance of the Person with a Disability Identification Card can be found at 15 ILCS 335.

The state regulations governing issuance of disabled person identification cards can be found at 92 Ill.Admin.Code 1030.91.

The state regulations governing administrative hearings can be found at 92 Ill.Admin.Code 1001.

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