Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The sergeant involved in this story is a step parent situation. His natural father died shortly after his birth. There was never a formal adoption. However he used his step father's name for years. I remember reading that Missouri was going to be the test site for the new Homeland Security ID program. This man is a retired veteran. It makes me sick that veterans are being attacked on such a level. This article is about adoption and what adoptees face with their amended birth certificates.

Here is the story.

Military ID not taken as proof of identity, area man denied license

A local retired Air Force Technical Sergeant was recently denied attaining a Missouri Driver's License from the Department of Motor Vehicles because his birth certificate did not match his social security card.

To obtain a Missouri driver's license, citizens must provide three "proofs" - proof of lawful presence, proof of identity, and proof of residence. Due to the state's efforts to comply with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) guidelines, the only documents that can be used to verify a citizen's proof of lawful presence for the state of Missouri are a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, certificate of citizenship, certificate of naturalization, or a certificate of birth abroad. To prove identity, a person must provide a social security number. Despite having the same DHS guidelines to follow, only nine other states and the District of Columbia will not recognize a military identification card as a primary verification of identity or proof of lawful presence - Oregon, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The other 40 states accept a military ID for primary identification, except Maine, which only requires proof of residency.

The problem, one that the sergeant faced when applying for a driver's license, comes from the name on the birth certificate not matching the one on his social security card. The sergeant, for example, was born with his biological father's last name (his legal name), his father died not long after his birth. Since turning school age, however, he has gone by his mother's husband's last name (his assumed name). The sergeant, as well as the 11th District Representative for the State Legislature Ed Schieffer, believes that this is not just an isolated incident. "It happened more than people think it did," the sergeant commented, citing that it would be the case for almost any child's whose mother re-married or married after the child's birth, but before a social security card was issued. It is the assumed name that the sergeant has gone by his whole life, the one that name that appears on his high school diploma, as well as all of the records of his 20-plus year military career that the state of Missouri is challenging. According to numerous federal government files, his originally issued social security card and number, his retired military ID, his Defense Department Form 214 (discharge form) and his retirement contract (the one that assures him of his benefits) he is the man with his mother's husband's last name, not his biological father's. The assumed name, not the legal one.

"The state's failure to recognize my years of military service is the worse aspect of the whole situation," said the sergeant. Although the federal government recognizes the sergeant by the assumed name that he has gone by for over 50 years, the state requires him to officially change his name from his legal name to the assumed one. "It discredits my twenty years of patriotic service to my country." To the sergeant the discredit also includes a presidential certificate of appreciation issued to the assumed name with Former President George Bush's signature on it that was earned while providing security for the president's aircraft. Adding to the slight of having a name that the state will not recognize on all of his 'official' paperwork since he was five years old, the sergeant sees it as a slap in the face of all of the country's veterans that they cannot prove their identity through the cards or forms that they attained in response to their service of their country.

In addition to the perceived slight by the government of the state of Missouri, a question still remains about the status of the benefits that the sergeant (and all of the people that fall under this category) earned under his assumed name. "The state of Missouri can, by forcing me to assume an identity other than my assumed name, lead to the loss of my military retirement income as well as my medical benefits." This becomes more important as the sergeant is a cancer survivor as well as insulin dependent. Due to advice from counsel and the possibility of losing his military benefits, the sergeant's name is being withheld.
In the end, the sergeant would simply like the state to issue him a driver's license in the name that he has gone by for over 50 years, the name that the federal government recognizes as valid. "Adding a federally issued military ID to the list of acceptable documents would bring this issue to a close."

He has reported contacting Rep. Schieffer, the Missouri Department of Revenue, as well as the Governor's Office with his concerns. According to the sergeant, several of the state governmental agencies, noted that the problem is an "unintended consequence" of a state law. Rep. Schieffer responded that he wouldn't have a problem with allowing veterans and military personnel to use their military IDs to get a driver's license or voter registration card. The representative stated, "I am of the personal opinion that a military ID should be enough of an identification." The Department of Revenue, the state entity responsible for the issuances of driver's licenses, reportedly considered accepting the sergeant's DD 214 (discharge form) but they have since denied that as well. The sergeant is still waiting on a reply from the governor's office.

by Jeremy Ide

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