Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need to figure out which programs can help you?
- Who should I contact with questions about each program?
- For vehicle ticket and debt information, contact the Department of Finance at 312-744-7275(PARK).
- For Utility Billing Relief information, text WATERBILL to 313131 to receive program updates or call (312)795-8946 and leave your name and number.
- For library information, call (312) 747-4300.
- Where do I check if I have tickets or debt?
Visit the following Page https://pay.chicago.gov/workflows/tickets.
- How do I know if I am eligible for a hardship?
Individuals may prove a hardship through any of the following ways:
- INCOME QUALIFICATION
- Household income of 300 percent or less than the Federal Poverty Level
- Tax Return and W-2’s establishing a household income of 300 percent or less than the Federal Poverty Level
- Tax Return showing claim of Earned Income Tax Credit for the most recent year.
- PARTICIPATION IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS
- Government Issued Unemployment Compensation;
- Low income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP);
- Federal Public Housing/Section 8 Food Stamps;
- Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- Illinois Free Lunch and Breakfast Program;
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- Enrollment in an organized community-based program that assesses and documents limited low income financial status as criteria.
- PROOF OF ONE OF THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:
- Foreclosure (received a notice of foreclosure, entered into a consent foreclosure, gave a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or had a judgment of foreclosure entered on primary residence within last three years);
- Bankruptcy (liability for fines and penalties remain after obtaining a bankruptcy discharge);
- Student (attending high school, college, trade or vocational school with a valid student ID card);
- Senior citizen (65 and older);
- Active military (including reservists and national guard);
- Recently inactive military (discharged from the military in the last 180 days);
- Domestic Violence Victim.
- INCOME QUALIFICATION
CITY STICKER TICKET DEBT RELIEF
- Who is required to purchase a City Sticker?
All Chicago residents driving, parking, leasing and/or owning a vehicle for which they are responsible in the City of Chicago are subject to the Chicago Wheel Tax and must purchase a Chicago City Vehicle Sticker. This includes Chicago residents that maintain their registration outside of the City of Chicago, but use the vehicle in the City. We want motorists to avoid costly tickets.
- What is the City Sticker debt relief program?
The City Sticker Debt Relief Program is being offered by the City’s Department of Finance from November 15, 2019-December 15, 2019, and allows eligible motorists to have at least three of their oldest City Sticker tickets forgiven.
- Are parking tickets or other tickets part of this?
No, this program only applies to buying a City Sticker and forgiving City Sticker tickets.
- If I already paid my City Sticker tickets will I be issued a refund?
No, the Debt Relief Program only forgives eligible unpaid City Sticker tickets. Refunds will not be issued.
- What should I do to take advantage of the City Sticker amnesty and debt forgiveness programs?
Anyone who is in compliance with the City Sticker requirements by October 31, 2019, or who is no longer required to have a City Sticker, can apply online from November 15, 2019-December 15, 2019, to have at least three City Sticker tickets forgiven
- How do I determine which of my current or previous vehicles have city sticker debt?
Please click here to search your plate number(s) and find eligible violations or call 312-744-7275 for assistance.
- Who is eligible to apply for the Debt Relief Program?
Motorists are eligible for the Debt Relief Program if they have City Sticker debt and are in compliance with the City Sticker requirements, or are no longer required to have a City Sticker, because they do not own a vehicle or no longer reside in the City..
- Will my tickets be eligible for forgiveness?
Only City Vehicle Sticker tickets are covered by this program. Anyone who is current on their City Vehicle Sticker can have up to three of their oldest City Sticker tickets forgiven, no questions asked. If you have more than three City Sticker tickets and can prove a financial hardship, you are eligible to have all your City Sticker tickets forgiven.
- Can I take advantage of debt forgiveness if I don’t have a City Sticker by the end of October 2019?
No, not if you currently reside in Chicago and own a car. However, if you no longer reside in Chicago or no longer own a car, you are eligible.
- How many tickets can be forgiven?
Everyone who applies will be eligible to have your three oldest City Vehicle Sticker tickets forgiven. If you show a financial hardship, you can have all of your City Vehicle Sticker tickets forgiven.
- How do I know if I am eligible for a hardship?
For a full list of eligible financial hardship criteria, go to: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/fin/supp_info/revenue/parking_and_red-lightticketpaymentplans.html. The City is currently working on expanded hardship criteria, which will help some people not currently covered.
- When will my tickets be forgiven?
Tickets will be forgiven prior to December 31. You should receive an email informing you that your tickets have been forgiven and letting you know about any other outstanding debt you might have.
- Can I apply for all of my current and previously owned vehicles with City Sticker debt in one application?
No, you must submit one application per vehicle with City Sticker debt.
- Is this program open to undocumented individuals?
Yes, this program will help anyone who gets into compliance with their City Sticker by October 31, regardless of immigration status.
- Can I take advantage of debt forgiveness at the Currency Exchanges?
No, these programs will only be available online at Chicago.gov/newstartchicago and in-person at the City Hall Payment Center in Room 107.
- What if I have tickets from other cities in Illinois?
This program will only provide relief for tickets in Chicago related to lack of a City Sticker.
- What if I have a current City Sticker, but I also have previously owned vehicles with City Sticker debt?
You must submit one application per vehicle with City Sticker debt. When applying for vehicles you previously owned, please enter the City Sticker number associated with your current vehicle. You can start the application process by clicking on the Debt Relief Application link above and selecting the tile titled, “I HAVE A VALID CITY STICKER.” .
- What if I have City Sticker debt, but no longer own a vehicle?
You must submit one application per vehicle with City Sticker debt. The Department of Finance will use the information you provide in your application to verify that you no longer own a vehicle in the City and that you previously owned the vehicle(s) for which you are seeking debt relief. You can start the application process by clicking on the Debt Relief Application link above and selecting the tile titled, “I NO LONGER OWN A VEHICLE.”
- What if I have City Sticker debt but no longer live in Chicago?
You must submit one application per vehicle with City Sticker debt. The Department of Finance will use the information you provide in your application to verify that you no longer live in the City and that you own/owned the vehicle(s) for which you are seeking debt relief. You can start the application process by clicking on the Debt Relief Application link above and selecting the tile titled, “I NO LONGER LIVE IN CHICAGO.”
- How do I know if I have a qualifying hardship for purposes of my Debt Relief application?
The application provides a list of qualifying hardship categories. Please note that if you submit an application certifying that you have a qualifying hardship, you may be contacted during the City’s review process and required to provide documentation in support of your assertion.
- Will I continue to receive collection or other notices from the City regarding my City Sticker tickets after I submit my Debt Relief application?
Yes, you will continue to receive notices while your application is pending. If your application is approved, notifications regarding the forgiven City Sticker tickets will cease at that time.
- Can my vehicle get booted for City Sticker tickets while my debt relief application is pending?
No, a boot hold is in effect until all applications have been processed for vehicles that are boot eligible as a result of unpaid City Sticker tickets. However, if your application is denied your vehicle may become boot eligible again. Please call 312-744-7275 for more information.
DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION
- What is the City doing about driver’s license suspension and parking tickets?
The City is no longer suspending driver’s licenses for non-driving offenses like parking tickets. The City can still suspend driver’s licenses for driving violations, like speeding tickets. This change does not affect previously suspended licenses.
- Do I get my driver’s license back if it’s currently suspended for parking tickets?
If you want your driver’s license back immediately, you will need to get on a payment plan with the City.
- Is your debt forgiven if you get your license back?
No, you are still responsible for your debt when your license is no longer suspended.
- What will getting on a payment plan do?
Getting on a payment plan may allow you to get your driver’s license back if it’s been suspended for City past due parking, compliance or automated fines, release your car if it’s been booted or towed for non-payment of fines and allow you to be eligible to work at City jobs.
Fresh Start Debt Relief ProgramThe Fresh Start program may provide relief from City vehicle ticket debt to individuals who receive a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, by forgiving older vehicle ticked debts and penalties for people who pay some recent ticket debts through a payment plan.
- Where can I find more information on the changes to payment plans?
- If somebody is currently on a payment plan, would they be able to transfer onto a new payment plan with better terms once those roll out?
Yes, please call the Department of Finance at 312-744-7275(PARK) for more information.
- I don’t have access to a computer, how can I take advantage of the online payment plans?
You can come in person to City Hall at 121 N. LaSalle and access computers in the Payment Center in Room 107.
- When do I need to request the extension by?
Vehicle owners have 24 hours to make a payment or get on a payment plan to have the boot released. Similarly, if you need an additional 24 hours, you must make the request to the Department of Finance within the first 24 hour period.
- How do I get the 24-hour extension if my car is booted and I need more time to pay?
Call the Department of Finance at 312-744-7275(PARK).