We raise funds to help youths and families to get State Real ID cards. Barriers to obtaining Real ID cards – “Without an ID, basically you don’t exist”
You don’t need a permanent home to obtain a state-issued real identification card. Many people assume that a permanent residence is necessary to obtain an ID card because most types of ID, like a driver’s license or passport, display the holder’s home address. However, homeless people and children in poverty can obtain and use identification documents without a home address. The primary benefit of having a Real ID card is that it easily verifies identity, which can in turn make it possible to access social services, enter a federal building, fly on a plane, obtain a public library card, cash a check, apply for a job or an apartment and to open a bank account. Without an ID, you’re unable to access many of the public services that can keep you healthy and safe.
For youth experiencing homelessness seeking to obtain valid government-issued photo Real ID, there are four common and critical barriers:
- Obtaining Birth Certificate (or Other Valid Government-Issued Identification) Most agencies that issue identity documents require a birth certificate to access most other government-issued identity documents. It is also one of the only documents (along with Social Security card) that never expires; therefore, obtaining a copy of a birth certificate is highly recommended. However, many states require a copy of government-issued photo identification or notarized signature to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate, which can be difficult for youth who do not already have identification documentation.
- Age Limits and Parental Consent Most states have no minimum age for obtaining an ID, but many states do require parental consent if the applicant is under 18. Twenty states require the signature or presence of a parent or guardian to obtain a state identification card. Additionally, states have varying requirements for consent to obtain a birth certification. For many youths experiencing homelessness, parental, guardian or legal proxy signatures are often a distinct barrier due either to separation or estrangement from their families and/or the time and cost of arranging to receive c
Here in Nevada under 18 ID cards are $9.25. Fees for ID range across the United States range from $5.00 (Maine, South Carolina) to $72.00 (Washington Enhanced (federally compliant) ID). Some states have reduced or eliminated fees to obtain non-driver state identification for individuals who are experiencing homelessness, have documented disabilities, or are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, even these states typically require additional steps to certify homeless, disability or income status, such as a form or affidavit signed by a social service agency or shelter and may not eliminate the fee to obtaining a copy of a birth certificate, all of which can be additional barriers to obtaining identification for youth experiencing homelessness. 4. Proof of Residency Most states do not account for the difficulty individuals experiencing homelessness may have in proving residency status. This may be a barrier to obtaining ID for youth 18 and over without a permanent residence or for youth under 18 who do not have access to a parent or legal guardian. Given this combination of requirements and barriers, in only seventeen states can youth under the age of 18 obtain access to non-driver ID without the assistance of a parent or legal guardian. However, there are a number of actions states can take to reduce these barriers through policy changes or tailored exceptions to expand access for youth experiencing homelessness on their own.