Catch 22
July 14, 2004 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Catch 22: I am applying to Social Security for disability. I need my birth certificate. To get my birth certificate from Pennsylvania, I need a valid government-issued ID bearing my current address (driver's license). To change my driver's license to my current address in South Carolina, I need my birth certificate (implemented 6/04 due to Patriot Act).

Has anyone run into this and figured out how to break the loop? I have already called Social Security, SC DMV and PA Vital Records AND talked to supervisors. Is my congressman next?
posted by mischief to Law & Government (14 answers total)
I often run into similar problems because I don't drive and generally have noidea where my SS card is... Aren't there usuallya range of options for proving your identity? You might check what you need to get a passport; I'm pretty sure it doesn't need the SS card, and once you have one, no one will ask you for anything else.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:49 AM on July 14, 2004

Assuming your parents are alive and you're all on speaking terms, can they obtain a copy for you?
posted by bondcliff at 9:52 AM on July 14, 2004

I need a valid government-issued ID bearing my current address (driver's license).

You don't need a driver's license necessarily. You *should* be able to get a photo ID from your local Department of Motor Vehicles. It's basically a picture ID that doesn't grant any priviliges, other than establishing that you are who you say you are and that you have an address.
posted by cohappy at 10:02 AM on July 14, 2004

Do you have a valid government id that has a previous address? And are you forwarding mail from your previous address to your current address? If yes and yes, then can't PA mail the certificate to the previous address?
posted by blue mustard at 10:04 AM on July 14, 2004

it doesn't have to be your parents who request it. it can be a friend. in the US, vital records (birth, death, marriage certificates) are generally available to all requestors, for a fee, if the requestor presents a vaild id.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:16 AM on July 14, 2004 [1 favorite]

Can you use a passport? Do you have a passport?
posted by kenko at 10:47 AM on July 14, 2004

You don't need a driver's license necessarily. You *should* be able to get a photo ID from your local Department of Motor Vehicles.

Right, but you need to prove to them that you are who you say you are - with a birth certificate, passport, or other combination of identifying documents.

I once had to get a passport with a different last name than the name on my birth certificate (my hippie parents weren't legally married so the bc had my mom's last name, but other docs had my dad's last name, since that's what I've generally gone by...anyhoo...) and a notarized letter from my mom did the trick. It might be worth asking if notarized testimonials would help -

Also, utility bills, or contracts (rent agreements, mortgages, etc) where you are named & your address is listed are sometimes acceptable.
posted by mdn at 11:40 AM on July 14, 2004

(by the way, "docs" above meant documents, not doctors, in case that sounded like (a bizarrely constructed sentence implying that) my family tree was a matter of contention among local medical professionals... )
posted by mdn at 11:42 AM on July 14, 2004

Do you have family with acceptable ID? If so, they can get your birth certificate for you in PA.
If you do not have acceptable photo identification, it may be necessary for an eligible requestor possessing goverment issued photo ID to apply for the certified copy of this birth record in your behalf. Eligible requestors must be 18 years of age or older and consist of the person of the record's spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, or sibling.
posted by jessamyn at 11:52 AM on July 14, 2004

just to clarify my own misinformation: anyone can receive a copy of the record, but (as jessamyn links to) only certain people may request certified copies. i imagine SC wants a certified copy from you.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:11 PM on July 14, 2004

these orgs in south carolina may help, they are on this list of mine of disability services orgs in other states:

Office of the Governor
Division of Ombudsman & Citizen Services
P.O. Box 11369
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: 803-734-0457 \ 800-868-0040
Fax: 803-734-0546

Protection & Advocacy for People
with Disabilities, Inc.
3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 208
Columbia, SC 29204
Phone: 803-782-0639 Voice/TDD \ 800-922-5225
Fax: 803-790-1946
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:11 PM on July 14, 2004

The important hang-up here is not so much establishing identity - which is, as many have noted, fairly easy to do through a combination of SS cards, utility bills, library cards, etc. etc. - but proving age.

Because drivers' licences are considered valid proof of age, they can only be obtained by producing other valid proofs of age: birth certificates, passports, and militiary IDs. Most states don't even take unexpired out of state drivers' licences as acceptable proof of age, which is apparently the case in SC. I am in pretty much the same boat myself, and jesus does it suck.
posted by ChasFile at 1:58 PM on July 14, 2004

order your birth certificate online. my wife and i needed copies for a trip to canada, we filled out a form and had them in about a week. cost something like $20 each.

service we used is vitalchek, they have lots of vital records (birth, death, marriage, etc) for every state.

pennsylvania order form is here. make sure you select something in the "reason for request" that makes it clear you need a certified copy. looks like the price for pennsylvania is $10 per copy, plus whatever service fees the service charges.

as long as you're requesting your own records, there's no catch.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:56 AM on July 15, 2004

oh, for anyone else stuck in the same boat, main page is
posted by caution live frogs at 5:57 AM on July 15, 2004

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