74. How can homeless people verify their identity and residence?
Identity: The food stamp caseworker is required to verify the identity of an applicant or recipient. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(c )(vii); MPP §63-300.5(e)(3).] But there are many ways to prove identity. A photo I.D. is only one way. No one should be denied food stamps simply because the person does not have a photo I.D. [7 C.F.R § 273.2(f)(1)(c)(vii) ("any documents which reasonably establish the applicant's identity must be accepted, and no requirement for a specific type of document . . . may be imposed").] To prove identity, an applicant can use such things as a work or school I.D., an I.D. card for health benefits, an I.D. from another social services program such as CalWORKs [TANF]. An applicant can also use wage stubs, a birth certificate, or a voter registration card. [MPP §63-300.5(e)(3).
Collateral contacts: The food stamp caseworker can also verify a person's identity by calling someone, such as a shelter worker or an employer, who can confirm their identity. Under the food stamp rules, a phone call to someone who can confirm a person's identity is called a "collateral contact." [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(c)(vii); MPP §63-300.5(h)(2).]
Residency: Homeless households are not required to verify where they live. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(vi); MPP § 63-401.5.] Residency need not be verified “in unusual cases (such as homeless households, some migrant farm worker households, or households newly arrived in a project area) where verification of residency cannot be reasonably accomplished.” [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f) (1) (vi).] But if the person lives in a shelter, it may be helpful to bring a letter to the food stamp office from a shelter employee confirming that fact.