TOPEKA, Kan. — Some Kansas residents are expressing frustration over the state’s strict requirements for a new form of driver’s license.

The licenses adopted by the state last year are intended to comply with the federal “Real ID” law, which was passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to strengthen rules for government-sanctioned identification. The 2005 law requires state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to meet specific standards in order to be used for conducting official business with the government.

Gretchen Underwood, 78, said she hasn’t been able to get her Real ID license for the past four months because none of her documents meet the new requirements, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .

“It’s frustrating. Completely frustrating,” she said Friday. “I can’t imagine why this is necessary. I’ve had these documents all my life and they’ve been fine. Why aren’t they fine now?”

At minimum, people must show a valid passport or birth certificate, either an official non-laminated card or a recent pay stub or tax document bearing the person’s full Social Security number, and proof of Kansas residency, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue. In addition to those requirements, anyone who has ever changed their name must also show legal documents explaining the change.

“Then they told me I needed my marriage license, because my Social Security name didn’t match,” Underwood said. “So I got all that and went back and was told that my birth certificate wasn’t the correct one, even though I’ve had it all my life. So I have to contact Minnesota (her birthplace) and get a different one.”

Revenue Department spokeswoman Rachel Whitten said she’s heard several stories similar to Underwood’s since the new licenses debuted in August. As a result, the department is planning to roll out an advertising campaign to make people more aware of the requirement.

“It can be tricky. You’ve got people who are used to doing things one way, and so now we’re trying to get the word out,” Whitten said. “We’re making every effort to get it out, but certainly we know there are always ways we can improve, and that’s what we’re doing.”


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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