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Advocacy in Action
TASK Staff and Patrons Testify to Help Reduce Barriers to Identification in New Jersey
Individuals living in poverty, experiencing homelessness or in a transient living situation often don’t have an official ID.
In June of 2021, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) issued a new directive that ID applicants must present their social security card in order to get an ID. This added barrier of proof has made it nearly impossible for many of our patrons to obtain identification.
At TASK, we’re always seeking solutions that help our patrons improve their quality of life. Last month, TASK Executive Director Joyce Campbell, TASK Identification Specialist Emily Varga and TASK patron Derrick Branch had the opportunity to testify in favor of Assembly Bill A3907, which would require the MVC to accept alternative documentation as proof of their social security number.
“Trying to return to the workforce became hindered by whatever ruling or law that stated that I must have an ID to get a Social Security card, and I must have a Social Security card to get ID. It became a Catch-22 for me,” testified Branch. “I need to work but can’t provide the ID to obtain the jobs that come my way. Not having an ID is also slowing me down at getting permanent housing, along with any other assistance that is available.”
With TASK’s advocacy, and the support of legislators like Assemblyman Dan Benson, the bill passed unanimously out of committee. The bill now heads to the State Senate for committee review.
If passed and signed by the Governor, the legislation will allow applicants to present any federal or state document with the last four digits of their Social Security number as proof.