Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Living in a Post 9/11 World

Yesterday I went to get a FL driver's license. My VA license expires at the end of this month so it is imperative that I get a move on. I did all the online prep work and walked in with my ducks in a row. I had a list, a plan - I was ready.


I had an electronic appt. so no waiting in line for me. Yes, I got immediate service. They immediately told me that I could not have a license.

Seems the Social Security Identity Match was not coming up correctly. I was still in the computer under my maiden name despite filling out the paperwork and submitting it in 1981. Yes, I know - some of you were not born then. Keep reading - there is a lesson here.

So, no license until I straightened it out with the Social Security office. I took all my paperwork and went to the SS office. I was met at the door by an armed guard who would not let me pass until I had turned off my cell phone and showed him that it was off. Then I noticed that there were TWO large armed guards and the workers sat behind protective slats of plexiglass.

I was not visiting Paris Hilton in the slammer - I was merely trying to get a freakin' driver's license!

Once my number was called, I submitted all my paperwork and was told I needed more ID. The passport, driver's license and marriage certificate I had were not enough. I needed proof of my maiden name. Sure, here is my birth certificate.

Hang on - this is where it gets really freaky...

The lady said, "I can't take that because a birth certificate is not identification."

Just let that sink in for a minute...

Where do you go after that?

The birth certificate that allowed me to get a driver's license, a passport, and adopt two foreign born children which required two FBI checks is not identification. This is the point where I thanked God I had been taking my blood pressure medicine regularly.

The lady then read a list of acceptable identifications that required me to be either military, Native American or divorced. Sorry - NO NO NO. Then she told me all these ridiculous options I had like getting a statement from a doctor whose care I was under while I was sporting my maiden name. Sorry, but they would be DEAD. Really, really long dead. Not just a little dead or pretending to be dead - DEAD. I was beginning to understand why the workers were protected cos I was ready to bitchslap the woman at this point and take my chances with the armed guards.

I left with a list of things that I could find, acquire or petition the courts for so that I could prove that I am who I say I am. It matters not that for the past 25 years I have paid taxes under this name with this Social security number and nobody said a word. The rules all changed after September 11th and now you are screwed.

Luckily, I came home and found the birth certificate that the hospital issued that has my foot prints on it. My mom had just given that to me in a stack of report cards, etc. from my childhood. They will take that (or at least they say they will!) but not the official certified State of Florida birth certificate. So, I may be able to complete this process after all.

The lesson here is:
  • Save everything. You may need it. Protect your documents - think about fire, flood, tornado and hurricanes.
  • Think hard about changing your name when you get married. If you do, make sure you change it on every legal document AND can prove it.
  • Warn your daughters of this. Protect their documents for them until they are old enough to take the job over.
  • Do you have a Social Security card with your correct name on it in your possession? No? GET ONE.

Cross your fingers for me that my next visit to the friendly governmental office is more successful. Otherwise I may get my wish to live in Italy.


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