Congress has enacted or considered several provisions that create stricter requirements for proving identity and other prerequisites for accessing certain government services or federally funded benefits such as Medicaid. These requirements may also apply to federally regulated purposes, such as boarding a commercial aircraft, entering a federal building, receiving certain federal or federally funded benefits (such as Medicaid), voting, or working at US ports.
States also have enacted or considered similar identification and verification requirements. Under these provisions individuals would have to provide proof of vital personal information, such as citizenship (or legal presence in the country), address, date of birth, and Social Security number by producing specific documents, such as birth certificates, utility bills, bank statements, or Social Security cards. In some cases these documents would be necessary to obtain an identification card that would then be used to prove citizenship or legal residence. Individuals who are unable to meet these stricter standards would not be issued federal compliant identification cards and would therefore be denied certain government services or opportunities.
However, these new standards and procedures impose a disproportionate and unnecessary burden on the older population, people with low-incomes, racial and ethnic groups that have experienced discrimination, and people living in, rural areas (see Chapter 1, Government Integrity and Civic Engagement—Voting.)
Federal and State Identification and Verification Requirements: Policy
Identification and verification requirements
Congress, state legislatures, and administrative agencies should not devise identification and verification requirements for individuals to deal with eligibility and national security concerns unless appropriate limitations are included to address:
- burdens on older people and others, including the possible hampering of access to government programs and services by otherwise eligible individuals, and onerous administrative processes for obtaining licenses and other government-issued identification;
- the privacy and security of personal information;
- the impact of state implementation costs on states and individuals; and
- timeline considerations for implementing the requirements.