Lose your wallet, cease to exist

Imagine losing your wallet, along with all your identification. Replacing it has always been a pain.

Now, thanks to Real-ID, replacing your driver’s license or state ID card can be literally impossible. That’s because, under the new requirements, you can’t get a replacement state-issued ID card without proof of your social security number— and you can’t get a social security card without a state-issued picture ID.

If you don’t have a birth certificate, things are even worse. Apparently none of the great minds who devised Real-ID made any provision for those who lose ID or don’t have a birth certificate (like some Native Americans or the elderly.)

PS You should not carry your Social Security Card in your wallet. I’m making scans of our drivers licenses, passports, and SSN cards. Perhaps if our ID was lost, such scans might help show who we are – as we travel towards our all-surveillance all-the-time government.


  1. Note that in many rural areas, as well as on reservations, there are still folks alive today who were born at home and don’t HAVE birth certificates.

    And though you shouldn’t carry your social security card in your wallet, you’ll need to have it with you to get a job, apply for ID, open a bank account, or any of a number of other basic tasks, thanks to ridiculously intrusive post-9-11 security laws. So it’s no wonder so many people DO carry their social security card in their wallet.

    Do we really believe this is about preventing terrorism? I don’t. The legislation is aimed at U.S. citizens and residents– the security holes where foreigners are concerned are big enough to drive an explosives-laden truck through.

  2. When I travel always keep a poto-copy of my passport with me, in a separate location from my actual passport. I also keep an electronic copy on-line on my web site in a password protected area, so that if I need to I can log in remotely and print a copy, worst case.

    I have scan and copies of all such documents, and carry photo-copies of all documents except my drivers license (which I do have a copy of, both at home, and in a spare wallet in the car. Most places (banks, jobs, etc) will accept a photo-copy of your SS card. The few that don’t are those that generate such items themselves (like DMV and passport offices).

    This is another good reason to get a passport, even if you don’t plan on going out of country. I can be useful if you need to go somewhere in an emergency, and it’s another form of photo ID, which is almost universally accepted, inside and outside of the US.

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