My Indentity Crises

My adventure trying to get a replacement social security and ID card in the USA.


Well, I knew the time would come sooner or later that I would have to get a current, valid, ID card.  I haven’t had the need for one in years.  I should have one now that I’m traveling around the country.  I have a picture ID but it’s very, very expired.  It’s a Georgia ID which has expired five years ago.  I know your thinking, “How have I gone so long without one?”  Well, I was rarely asked and if someone needed an ID, it sufficed as valid proof.  I also don’t drive. “Can I drive?” “Yes”, “Do I drive?” “No”.  (That another story for another time.)

My Georgia ID was the first experience with the changed USA identification policies.  In order for me to get this ID, I was told I need a certified copy of my birth certificate and all the paperwork that proved my name changes over the years.  OMG, really!  Very upset and frustrated I left the DMV office on the mission of requesting birth, marriage, divorce paperwork to prove who I was.  That took about a month then back to the DMV, this time with my husband.  I needed all the verification I could get.  The DMV accepted my Readers Digest volume of paperwork and I received my driver’s license in the mail within a few weeks.

Fast forward about five years, now we are in Michigan.  I got this covered, this should be easy…not!  Going to the Secretary of State (SoS) with all my paperwork in hand, minus my Social Security Card.  Holy, Moly, please don’t ask for the Social Security (SS) card.  Of course, I can’t find the damn thing.  Seventeen years of marriage and now I can’t find it.  Well, you guessed it, the SoS wanted my SS card, sigh.

Off to the Social Security office, we go with my growing stack of paperwork looking for my identity.  I’m very upset and nervous at this point, just waiting for them to throw another rotten apple in my basket.  Yes, yes…they did not disappoint me.  In order for me to get an SS card, I must have a valid Michigan ID!  What the hell?  Did I hear that correctly?  The explanation was this:  I needed to prove my age.  Well, I got a fricken certified copy of my birth certificate, is that not good enough?  “No, no,” he said.  “Anyone can request a copy of your birth certificate, I could pull it up right now”.

My blood pressure was going through the roof.  Frustrated beyond belief, he looked at me and ask, “Do you have a doctor?”  “Well, yes”.  I answered.  He continues to explain the Social Security Department can use a letter from my doctor, with his letterhead, and with my name and birth date on it for verification.  “You have got to be kidding?”  Nope, he was not.  “Can I call my doctor and have his staff fax this document over to you?”  “Nope, you can not”.

Now I remembered why I stayed away from these government offices and choose not to renew my ID in the first place.  It will make you bald before your years.   I was 40 miles away from my doctor and about to leave on our maid voyage with “Dotty”.  As it turns out, it did not turn out in my favor.  We left without a current ID or SS card.  I just hope all the other 50 pages of paperwork in my purse will suffice a traffic cop should we get pulled over.  Wish me luck, I’m a 51-year-old female without an American identity.  God Bless America.

Author: L. Beard

I am a graduate of Mercer University, Bachelor of Arts, 2001, with a concentration in Sociology. I love travel, camping and the simple things in life. I'm intrigued by the human condition and all it's complexities. Some call me direct, I describe myself as a realist. My greatest gift is to have my best friend, and the love of my life by my side and along for the ride.

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