Improving Access to IDs – EOPRTF

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Prepared for the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force.

Colorado residents who lack a valid state identification card can find themselves marginalized and excluded from essential services and assistance including access to health care, housing, employment and public benefits. In addition, citizens need a picture ID when opening a bank account, cashing a check, picking up prescriptions, boarding a plan and even entering some government buildings.

State IDs are issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within the Department of Revenue. The ID application process can be daunting and confusing to individuals who lack documents required by the DMV. Among those who find themselves unable to overcome this barrier are two populations that deserve the state’s protection and support: veterans and the elderly.

The elderly often need IDs for medical care, banking needs and public assistance. Veterans may require an ID to show a prospective employer or landlord or to register for a school or training program. For both groups, access to a state ID provides a means to improve economic opportunity and to reduce poverty.