State to crack down on disabled permit fraud
SACRAMENTO » Gaming a program for drivers with disabilities is about to get much harder under a new California law set to take effect in January, starting with one common-sense-measure: using federal data to help determine which disabled parking permit-holders have died.
Senate Bill 611, by Sen. Jerry Hill, D- San Mateo, came in response to an April state audit revealing that as many as 35,000 parking placards issued to Californians whom the Social Security Death Master File listed as deceased were still in use.
The audit also showed that therewas no limit on the number of replacement permits that could be ordered fromthe Department of Motor Vehicles, and that nine people ordered 16 or more from 2013 to 2016. A previous report fromthe state auditor revealed that 26,000 placard-holders were over the age of 100, though California had just 8,000 centenarians in 2014.
SB 611, which incorporated a number of audit recommendations, passed unanimously in both houses. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure into law on Wednesday.
“We must block scofflaws and fraudsters from gaming the DMV’s placard and license plate program for drivers with disabilities and ensure that the motorists who need this important program have access to its benefits,” Hill wrote in a statement. “These changes to state law, along with changes recently made by the DMV, will go a long way toward reducing fraud and abuse.”
Under the bill: • The DMV is required to conduct quarterly audits of applications and to work with state health boards tomake sure they are accurate. • All permanent placard holders must renew their permits every six years. This requirement does not apply to license plate holders. • Applicants must provide proof of their name and date of birth. • The number of replacement placards that can be issued in a two-year period— once unlimited— will be limited to four.
California state auditor Elaine Howle said the state gives disabled parking permits to people who don’t provide enough medical information to prove they need one.