Having an ID and birth certificate are essential to accessing critical social services, receiving medical care (including filling prescriptions), obtaining permanent housing, cashing a check and other services, as well as finding permanent employment. However, in the last year, the cost of photo IDs has doubled in Pennsylvania, from $13.50 to $29.50 for a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) photo ID, and doubled for birth certificates, from $10 to $20. This makes the cost of getting both nearly $50, which has put obtaining an ID card financially out of reach for many local residents. ID Philly is a pilot program launched in summer 2016 by CEO in partnership with the Homeless Advocacy Project, Broad Street Ministries, Project HOME, and Philadelphia FIGHT. The program covers the cost of the application fee for guests of the city’s emergency meal programs who currently lack a photo ID. The program helped more than 1,000 vulnerable Philadelphia residents apply for and obtain needed identification and vital documents.
Pennsylvania currently has the sixth most expensive ID in the country. We want Pennsylvania to join the 33 other states that provide a hardship waiver for photo IDs. PennDOT and the Advisory Health Board can take administrative action TODAY to remedy this issue and institute a hardship waiver for people who need it. Please join us in asking the Wolf Administration to help us address this barrier for Pennsylvanians getting back on their feet.