We recently helped a woman, Ms. A, who had a streak of bad luck.Her husband had left while she was pregnant; her baby was born prematurely with many medical problems (requiring her to move to a different state so the baby could get treatment); and her terminally ill mother, who lived with her had died, all within five years.Her driver’s license had expired years before but she was too busy to deal with it, and besides she no longer had a car.
When Ms. A finally went back to work and tried to open a bank account, she needed photo identification from a government agency, like a passport or driver’s license, before the bank would open an account. She had no idea what to do. Ms. A could not get a certified copy of her birth certificate or a replacement social security card without a government issued photo I.D. or a major credit card, or copies of the very documents she was trying to replace. Ms. A was born in this country, had a social security number and had paid taxes.She still had no way to open up a bank account and lived a “cash life” from paycheck to paycheck by going to a check cashing facility.
You may know your social security number, but how many people can locate their original social security card? If you were asked to produce a certified copy of your birth certificate, could you?Those of us who have a valid driver’s license, passport, or a non-driver photo identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles rarely run into a problem because these items are considered government issued picture forms of identification.However, let a driver’s license lapse over two years, and you will be asked to supply a certified copy of a birth certificate along with an original social security card in order to reclaim your government issued photo I.D.If you do not have a current passport or driver’s license or it has been expired for some time, you may have a great deal of difficulty trying to prove your identity. A check cashing card, student identity card., library card are not acceptable forms of identification when it comes to attaining government issued photo I.D. which you need to open a bank account.
To get a certified birth certificate or replacement social security card you need a major credit card and government issued photo I.D.It is nearly impossible to get a replacement social security card without a certified copy of your birth certificate plus another form of identification or photo I.D. issued by a government agency like the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles or United States Passport Office. It is often a Catch-22 with one agency refusing to give you the documentation you need to get from another agency.
Please keep your important paper documents for you and your family in a safe place and do not let life get in the way to prevent you from renewing your driver’s license or passport in a timely fashion.Following September 11, 2001, the United States Congress passed the Patriot Act in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration and to prevent terrorists from entering our country.The Patriot Act requires stringent documentation to prove a person’s identity before the United States government will replace or issue identification.Please keep your government issued documents up to date to prevent problems in replacing these items.