Statewide, approximately 275,000 low-income individuals with
disabilities are eligible for this benefit. This new benefit builds
on the success of Seniors Ride Free, which the governor launched in
January of this year. In combination, these two programs ensure that
nearly 1.6 Illinoisans can ride fixed-route transit for free, once
they register with their local transit agency.
"My Seniors Ride Free program has been a success from its
beginning in January," Blagojevich said. "Now, thanks to this new
law, all disabled individuals eligible for Circuit Breaker in
Illinois can also enjoy the benefits and freedoms that public
transit provides. I am very pleased to sign this bill into law
Senate Bill 1920, sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett and Rep.
Kathleen Ryg, received strong bipartisan support in the Illinois
Senate, where it passed 55-1-0, and in the Illinois House, where it
"This new law will make the daily lives of individuals with
disabilities easier by limiting the burden of transportation costs.
I am proud to have co-sponsored this bill and look forward to seeing
it take effect," Garrett said.
"I have been looking forward to this ever since I heard the
governor announce the Seniors Ride Free program this winter," said
Mitchell Cohen, 52, of Chicago. "He promised he would work to extend
the benefit to people with disabilities, and I am excited that he
lived up to his promise. I look forward to riding the buses and
trains to doctor's appointments, the grocery store or wherever I
need to go, without having to cut into my budget."
People with disabilities who wish to take part in the free
transit benefit must enroll in the Circuit Breaker program in order
to be eligible. The Circuit Breaker program provides support to
senior citizens and people with disabilities to help them reduce the
impact of taxes and prescription medications on their lives. When
the costs of property taxes and prescription medicines begin to
"overload" our seniors and people with disabilities, this program
steps in to help, just as a circuit breaker prevents overloads in an
Circuit Breaker annual household
income limits are as follows:
$22,218 for a
household of one.
$29,480 for a
household of two.
$36,740 for a
household of three.
To apply for Circuit Breaker, people with disabilities can visit
www.cbrx.il.gov or call
1-800-624-2459 (1-888-206-1327 TTY) to request an application.
[to top of second column]
Those already enrolled in Circuit Breaker should contact their local
transit agency to find out what they will need to do to take
advantage of the free rides. For a list of local transit agencies,
Individuals with disabilities who are not eligible for Circuit
Breaker will still be eligible for reduced fare, half-price transit
rides as provided under current law. Eligibility for reduced fare
service is generally determined at the local level.
"Persons with disabilities are often transit-dependent, so it is
important that we improve access to transit for those who need it
most to live independently," Ryg said. "I am pleased to see Gov.
Blagojevich sign this legislation."
"By providing these free rides on fixed-route service, we are
giving additional mobility to those who need it most and helping
them to improve their quality of life," said Steve Schlickman,
executive director of the Regional Transportation Authority.
"We are pleased that this new free ride benefit will be available
to people with disabilities on a limited income," said Janice
Stashwick, civil rights advocate for Access Living. "Public
transportation is critical to the everyday lives of many people with
disabilities. This free ride benefit will offer more independence to
get to work, school, medical and social appointments, etc., and thus
will benefit us all."
"The enactment of a free ride program for people with
disabilities will help them to be more active and achieve the goals
and daily necessities of importance to the entire community," said
Tony Paulauski, executive director, The Arc of Illinois.
Senate Bill 1920 is effective immediately. Free rides for those
who meet the eligibility requirements must begin within 60 days of
the bill action or no later than Oct. 24.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]