Senior citizens are having trouble obtaining ID cards or driver’s licenses due to invalid or lost birth records.
In order to receive a drivers license or ID, people are now being asked show a birth certificate among many other proof of identity, including two proofs of residence, proof of social security and a current ID. This is specifically causing issues among seniors as their birth records were either lost, destroyed, invalid or simply non-existent.
Appointed Troup County Historian, Clark Johnson, said that even though birth certificates started in 1919, they didn’t become common until the 1950’s, and even then, some of them were never filed. Another problem occurring is individuals who went by another name on every record than the name that is printed on their birth certificate. As a result, their name must be legally changed by the superior court in order to receive a valid birth certificate to get or renew an ID or licence.
“Government regulations require people who have lived here all their life to re-document who they are and its gotten ridiculous,” Johnson said.
Johnson credits this to the hysteria that was caused by the 911 terrorist attacks. These regulations went into effect July of 2012. These new regulations are requiring people who have had a valid ID or licence for years to suddenly prove who they are. Johnson said senior citizens are not the only ones affected by these new regulations, but middle-aged adults have also been running into issues.
“It’s a nightmare that the government has inflicted on people,” Johnson said.
Althina Glanton, vital record registrar for the Troup County Health Department, said this is a problem she has dealt with a lot recently. The problem she sees is the issue of the name listed on the birth record being a different name or spelling on all other records.
Glanton works with all people to help find or obtain their birth certificates. For those who never had any birth records, she provides them with a list of evidence, which they must provide three, to grant them a delayed birth certificate which will serve as an official birth record.
There also is an amended birth certificate for situations where the existing birth certificate has an error. In this case, two evidential documents five to seven years old are required. The process for both a delayed or amended birth certificate takes about 17 weeks to process and costs $50.
Where the situation gets complicated is when individuals were born in another state. At that point the vital records office can only handle records in Georgia. Furthermore, when the name on the birth record does not match any other records, that is where individuals are getting stuck.
“If you’ve been going by your name Billy-Jo all your life and you come here and then you’ve been William Joseph [on the birth certificate], we cant change that, that will have to go through [Superior] court,” Glanton said. “I’m seeing that a lot.”
Glanton said she tries to help as much as she can and will even refer them to other offices or departments who can further help receive valid birth certificates.
Currently there doesn’t seem to be any convenient solutions to the matter, but services such as the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the vital records registrar will work with individuals to help them comply with federal regulations.