Wednesday, June 13, 2007

vanishing act

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend Tabitha either lost her wallet or it was stolen. (It disappeared withing less than a block, so foul play seems like it's at least an option.) In it were, very unfortunately, her ohio drivers license and her social security card.
Here's the problem: in order to get a social security card, you need a license or some other form of valid ID, like a passport, which she does not have. In order to get a license, you need a social security card or some other form of valid ID, and also some sort of approved signature, like a credit card or a cancelled check from within the last 60 days. Tabitha doesn't have a bank account, and her credit cards (which were already cancelled but still being carried around) were in her wallet. So, because she doesn't have a bank account or credit cards, and because both of the most common forms of identification were in the lost wallet, she can't replace anything. In the short term, this means she can't drive (assuming there was even a car around, which there isn't), go into bars or buy liquor, get a different job, and she couldn't fly if she needed to. More scarily, she can't establish her identity in any sort of real way until we manage to think of a way to get around the rules at the DMV. It's so strange to me that the simple loss of a wallet could lead to the loss of so much possibility; it feels like she has been erased from the government-approved world and placed in this marginal area where her activity is limited, sometimes severely. It also feels somewhat descriminatory to me, like not having a bank account or a passport is some sort of frowned-upon circumstance that can impair your ability to do certain very important things. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but this is becoming a real problem and it's kind of stressing us both out.
So, can anybody think of a clever way to help with this? How do you establish the identity of someone whose identity may have been literally stolen? I'm sure this is not the first time this set of circumstances has come up, so there must be something. Anybody?

5 comments:

nick said...

I don't know but you just gave me the great idea to take my social security card out of my wallet...

erica said...

does she have a birth certificate? it seems like that would get you somewhere...

ammie said...

Yes, take your card out of your wallet! And we have a birth certificate now, the real stumbling block has become the verified signature. Normally you would get it off of your old license, your passport, a cancelled check, or a credit card, but we don't have any of those things. Still trying to figure out what they might accept :(

Jesse said...

Wow, that's crazy! And unfortunate. I know that once upon a time you could take some mail or checks with your address to get a library card and other sub-DMV kind of IDs, and then use those to help get a more official id. But I don't know if you can do that anymore.

PocaCosa said...

wow that sucks. i'm taking the card out of my wallet, too, after being chastised by my mother for not having it in my wallet. :-P

anyway, advice: jefferson says he'd show the DMV his apartment lease.