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Personal Identification Documents

Since the early 20th century, photographic identification documents have become an ordinary possession in our society, though not compulsory in the United States. These days, personal identification is necessary for just about everything from cashing a check, to riding an airplane, to entering a government building, to buying medicine. It seems obvious that anyone seeking public benefits should have identity documents. Yet, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, approximately eleven percent of Americans do not own government-issued photo identification. The lack of personal identification is a tremendous hinderance in receiving government assistance.

It is common for many people applying for disability benefits to have lost their identification. The inability to work and lack of income can lead to a loss of housing and downsizing of material possessions. With the frequent moving of papers, properties, and personal effects, it is easy to lose important documents along the way.

When you file for disability benefits, Social Security Administration must verify your identity. They may ask you for your birth certificate, Social Security card, military service papers, and/or tax returns. If your claim for disability benefits must have a hearing, you will also be asked to show photo-identification just to enter the hearing office.

If you do not have such documentation, many Social Security offices have procedures to access your file online and verify your personal information. Some local outreach programs may also assist residents in obtaining state identification, birth certificates, or other records from the Bureau of Vital Records or Department of Revenue. They can also provide a mailing address for those without homes or post office boxes. It may take several days or even weeks to receive the documents, so it is best to start the process early. If you are uncertain whether such assistance exists in your community, local churches or the United Way may be able to direct you to organizations that provide this service.

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.


Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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