Okay, so try to ignore the "drama" in this and I'll try to keep this short.

  • I'm unemployed (on my 3rd disability appeal) but in college
  • I max out my loans but it's about $500 a month left after my grants/loans cover tuition if I dolled out the lump sum I get three times a year into equal payments once a month
  • This is ALL of my income, however, since I don't have kids (no cash assistance) and because most states, mine included require you to work 20 hours minimum if you're in college in order to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid
  • So no job, no food, no insurance

That's all bad enough; I have zero support outside of my fiancee who has no family either. He is also in school and having a hard time securing employment since we had to move.

Last October all of my identification was burned in a fire that destroyed everything we owned, including all our clothes, cell phones (needed for employment) and the laptop we shared for school in addition to MANY other items.

  • The Red Cross was unwilling to help us since we weren't on the lease
  • landlord allowed us to stay pending a move to our own unit
  • This adds to the complications we already have regarding a lease, and also makes it impossible to find employment
  • My social security card and birth certificate need my photo ID in order to be replaced, plus an expensive trip to my hometown to get my birth certificate since they no longer issue copies requested by any medium except in person
  • I have to actually hope a bus or train, ride a whole day and somehow find the money to but the certificate, even if I had my photo ID
  • I do have a driver's license in the system just not the physical copy. In order to get a new one, I need to provide a copy of my lease (that I don't have) and two utility bills (that I also don't have) in addition to my social card and birth certificate (which again, I don't have) to the DMV and they will get a new license to me
  • I don't even live near the original issuing state anymore but numerous phones calls haven't yielded many answers anyway. They just say to come back to the state, obtain residency for a year and then submit the lease etc. It's actually a lot more involved than just applying for a transfer license

I know I need to fix this mess, but now I don't even know where to start.

I guess the question I am asking; Any ideas of how to move beyond our toxic living environment (where we have until July to vacate anyway). Is there any specific sequence that would yield quicker results. For example; is there an easier way to get all the ID's

Thank you for reading, and for any helpful replies.

  • 1
    What state are you in, assuming the US from reference to the DMV?
    – quid
    May 29, 2018 at 18:38
  • Maryland currently, but I recently moved here from Missouri. All my documents are from Missouri, but I am now more than a days drive away with no way of coming back. I can't even get a ride to walmart locally, so I know finding a person willing to drive me two days round trip for free and also paying $12.75 for the driver's license, $25 for the birth certificate and driving me to the social security office all out of the goodness of their heart is really asking the impossible.
    – Bianca
    May 29, 2018 at 18:50
  • use dave ramsey's baby steps
    – Lightsout
    Jan 30, 2020 at 0:05
  • So where are you now, 3 years later? It would be good to hear how you moved forward. Unfortunately, it seems you abandoned StackExchange immediately after posting this.
    – nanoman
    May 17, 2021 at 8:21

3 Answers 3


First, gather as many documents with your identity and address as possible: student ID, bank statements, any bills you have sent to your current address.

Birth Certificate

Missouri birth certificates can be obtained by filling out this form. This can be mailed in (no travel required!). In order to mail in, you will have to get it notarized. This is not expensive, many banks provide a notary service free to their customers.

Now is order to have it notarized, you will need some proof of identity. This is why I listed this first: the notary has some flexibility in what constitutes acceptable ID. Gather what types of ID you can find, then call ahead to different notary services, explain your situation, and ask if they will notarize given your proof. I didn't see it mentioned in the Handbook for Maryland Notaries Public, but according to National Notary Association, if the signer does not have identification, the notary can use "credible witnesses" as a means of identification. The webinar linked there indicates that up to two witnesses may be asked for. Are there two people that you can ask to be a witness (i.e. tell the notary that you are who you say you are)? If so make sure to let the notary know that you have that for proof.

Driver's License

If you want a Maryland driver's license (since you're living there now) you have a couple options:

  1. Get a certified driving record from Missouri, then go to a Maryland DMV office.
  2. Travel back to Missouri, get a replacement license, then go to a Maryland DMV office.

The first option is easiest since you don't have to go back to Missouri. See this page for details, you will need:

  • Certified driving record from the licensing agency
  • Proof of age, identity, residency: birth certificate, social security card, two proofs of MD residency (bills, bank statements, insurance cards, tuition bill or transcript, voided check with address all count)

You can request a certified driving record from Missouri via mail for a nominal fee. This page links to the appropriate forms; I would call the Maryland DMV to ask which particular records they need, but most likely the more detailed the better. You also need to get this form notarized before submitting. (I bolded this paragraph because this is another key document which you only need a notary for -- either this or the birth certificate should be your first move.)

Option 2, unfortunately to get a replacement license from Missouri it sounds like you have to go in person. (The Driver's Guide page 15 says there is a mail-in form for getting a new license when out of state, but the form itself says it is only for active duty military. You could try calling DOR to verify just in case, though.)

This FAQ page explains the steps. It does mentions a student ID card as acceptable document for proof of identity, but since it says you may be required to present additional proof, I would wait until you have your birth certificate, as per their informational poster:

  1. Proof of Name, DOB, Place of Birth: use your new birth certificate
  2. Social Security Number: you can just tell them verbally, no card needed
  3. Proof of residency: bank statements or bills would work.

Social Security Card

This page lists the ID requirements (click the option for "Replacement" in the sidebar). You'll need your birth certificate (proves citizenship and age), and a document for proof of identity.

If you don't have a driver's license, state-issued ID card, or passport, they'll ask for other documents which must be current, include name and DOB or age (and preferably a recent photo). The link lists some acceptable examples, such as school ID card or health insurance card, which might include this information. I'd call to verify, but you may be able to use a copy of your certified driver's record as proof, because the personal information in it includes everything that would be on your driver's license plus SSN.


  1. Find a notary
  2. Use notary to certify your request for a replacement birth certificate and certified driving record
  3. Use certificate + record to get a replacement Social Security card
  4. Use certificate + record + SS card to get a new (MD) driver's license
  5. Now you have the documents you need for employment, leasing, etc.

It will take patience, but it seems you should be able to get what you need without needing to travel back to Missouri. The biggest hurdle will be finding a notary to accept your identity, but once you have that you'll be able to get new copies of the documents you need. Most of this should only involve nominal fees.

In the meantime, don't forget about resources like food banks and local charities. Libraries and churches are good places to ask for information on where you could get assistance. Keep applying to jobs, but in the meantime you could consider things like tutoring or even odd jobs off Craigslist, just something to help you and your partner stay afloat until you find more stable employment. If you haven't already talked to your college's financial aid office, it's worth asking them as well if there's anything else they could do.


I wish I could provide you with more than I put in my answer prior to reading your post. I was trying for inspiration but achieved the opposite for which I apolgize. Perhaps you or your fiance could get the necessary job while the other continues his or her education. There may be State or county, or faith based agencies that may assist. Hopefully your need for continued schooling will be completed soon and you can move on. Do not be too proud to ask for assistance where you can find it. There may even be free legal assistance for document procurement.Check with the local County Bar Association.

  • I have begged for help, and begged is the correct word. I've cried, I've been professional and I've been both sweet and bitter. The fact is without identification there is no agency willing to help. I've spent months making calls, following up on leads and referrals. I am not too proud for anything, and I wish more than anything that I could fix this myself, but if someone was willing to help me up, I would sure jump on that opportunity even if it was the welfare line. Of course, I'd first have to figure out how to get there.
    – Bianca
    May 29, 2018 at 20:04

I guess the question I am asking; Any ideas of how to move beyond our toxic living environment (where we have until July to vacate anyway). Is there any specific sequence that would yield quicker results. For example; is there an easier way to get all the ID's

So the issue is not speed, but rebuilding your life on a solid footing. For one, the picture you paint is that of one of total victimization, however, I find that hard to believe. What actions, of your own doing, have lead to this downward spiral in your life? Looking yourself in the mirror, understanding those toxic behaviors of your own, and choosing good behaviors will help you progress to a meaningful life.

Does it really matter if that will take you 5, 10, or 20 years? No. What matters most is getting started today. You can do this, I believe in you. I also believe that there are churches in your area that can offer spiritual, emotional, and career counseling in addition to financial and food assistance. Seek them out, they will help you.

  • 4
    There is little in this answer that helps the poster deal with the situation they are in now.
    – webdevduck
    May 30, 2018 at 15:09
  • 3
    There is zero evidence from the question that anything that the OP did is in any way responsible for her situation. -1.
    – Tom W
    May 30, 2018 at 16:43
  • 3
    @TomW While I don't think this answer is helpful, neither do I accept that the OP has done nothing to make the situation worse. Not being on the lease, for example, suggests an illegal sublet. Cheaper? Now we see why. May 30, 2018 at 21:42

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