HOUSTON, Texas — Under the Real ID Act, people looking to get a new or renewed license must provide proof of citizenship or lawful residency.
It means some drivers are being turned away at driver license offices across the state.
This is affecting anyone who can’t provide the proper documentation. But it’s seniors who may have lived their whole lives without a birth certificate or passport that are having trouble under the new law.
Susan Glasscock showed up at the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License on Tuesday to renew her license. The 78-year-old had always been able renew her license online with little to no problems.
However, under the new Real ID Act people her age now have to show up in person.
“I will be 79 next week and I think it’s reasonable to make sure that I’m still functioning,” Glasscock said.
She’s done her homework to make sure this trip to the driver’s license office isn’t in vain.
“They were very explicit in what I needed to bring and the way of identification,” she said. “I went online early this morning and got a time and I got here and checked in and I have a number and as soon as they call it I’ll go do it, get my license.”
The law is in an effort to fight identity fraud and terrorism.
“I’m very fortunate. I could just reach and get the passport, you know I have the stuff. I’m sure other people have problems with it if they don’t have a birth certificate or a passport?" Glasscock asked.
She was able to walk away with a new license.
But, many drivers, like 90-year-old Margaret Heathcock, are unaware of the new requirements.
She turns 91 on Wednesday and went to the DPS office to renew her license.
“It expires tomorrow. I’m trying to get it done today,” she said.
In the past Heathcock would walk into the office, fill out a form and walk out with her license.
“I have to have my birth certificate so I’m coming back in another day or two and get it renewed.”
Heathcock was never issued a birth certificate when she was born but has a document that takes its place.
“I don’t think it will be a problem. Just bring that in because she said bring it in,” Heathcock said.
Her trip didn’t go as planned but the small setback won’t keep her off the road for long.
“DPS said if a birth certificate was never created and they don’t have a passport staff will work with drivers to help them gather documents that can be used to establish citizenship.
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