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How Will Municipal ID Cards Improve Individuals’ Lives? (Jun 2014)

A wide array of city residents would benefit from eligibility for municipal ID cards, including such vulnerable groups as undocumented immigrants, victims of domestic violence or natural disaster, the homeless, low-income senior citizens, and the formerly incarcerated.  ID cards will greatly improve the lives of all cardholders and their ability to access basic services.  Among the many situations in which a municipal ID may help an individual prove his or her identity are to:


  • Report a crime or file a complaint with the police
  • Assert one’s identity to emergency medical responders
  • Rent an apartment
  • Obtain services from local utilities
  • Open a bank account[1]
  • Cash a check
  • Obtain a loan
  • Pay for purchases with a check, credit card, or debit card
  • See a doctor at a city-run health clinic
  • Fill a prescription
  • Obtain insurance
  • Pick up a child from school  
  • Report wage or other workplace violations
  • Enter a government building
  • Borrow a book from the library
  • Access a city park, beach, or recreation center
  • Collect a package from the post office


This summary was prepared in June 2014 for informational purposes, not as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State and Local Advocacy Attorney, Jen Riddle, at or (301) 565-4807.

[1] This is important because immigrants are often targeted for theft because they are known to carry or keep at home large amounts of cash.