People with Disabilities Ride Free Permits Expire September 30

CHICAGO – The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is reminding riders that the expiration date of September 30 on Ride Free permits, used by qualifying persons with disabilities, is quickly approaching. If riders have not applied for the State of Illinois Benefit Access Program (BAP) they are encouraged to do so now in advance of the rapidly approaching expiration date.

In June, the RTA extended the expiration date of Ride Free permits for people with disabilities to September 30.  The extension allowed more time for riders to apply for the BAP program as it could take between four and six weeks for eligibility to be approved.

“We extended the renewal process to ensure every qualified rider is able to ride the transit system,” said Leanne Redden, Acting Executive Director of the RTA. “We hope the extension has given the riders the time they needed to apply through the BAP program to ensure there are no interruptions in their service. If they have not applied yet, they should do so immediately, as time is running out.”  "Seniors, (who have recently received a letter from RTA) are also strongly encouraged to apply...

Approximately 10,500 persons with disabilities have yet to renew their permits.  If a permit has recently been renewed, no additional action is required.  Additionally, Senior Ride Free permits, which originally expired on September 30, now expire on November 30, a date which is also approaching. If a Senior Ride Free permit has recently been renewed, no additional action is required.  Seniors, who have recently received a letter from the RTA, are also strongly encouraged to apply with the BAP program, if they have not yet done so.  The RTA is required by law to issue these permits to individuals who have been approved by the BAP program.

There are two ways to apply for eligibility through BAP:

  1. From any computer or mobile device, visit the Illinois Department of Aging Benefit Access Program website atwww.illinois.gov/aging and click on the “Benefit Access” tab.
  • The State only allows applications online, not in writing or over the telephone
  • The applicant must submit documentation online, which may require scanning documents to a computer to submit them online
  1. If assistance is needed filling out the online form to confirm eligibility for the Illinois Benefit Access Program, an applicant may do one of the following:
  • Chicago residents can visit any of the City of Chicago’s six Regional Senior Centers Monday through Friday, between 8:30 AM and 3:30PM.  Riders can call 311 to find the closest Regional Senior Center or
  • Call the Illinois Department on Aging at (800) 252-8966 to find a conveniently located center where staff can assist in filling the application.
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Press Contact

With three transit systems and more than two million riders a day, there is always something interesting going on at the RTA. Get the latest scoop on everything all in one place. For all media inquiries, please contact Susan Massel, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at 312-913-3256 or at communications@rtachicago.org.