How can the homeless verify their identity and residence?

Identity: The CalFresh caseworker is required to verify the identity of an applicant or recipient. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(C)(vii); MPP § 63-300.5(e)(3).] But there are many ways to prove identity. A photo I.D. is only one way. No one should be denied CalFresh benefits simply because the person does not have a photo I.D. [7 C.F.R § 273.2(f)(1)(C)(vii) (“any documents which reasonably establish the applicant’s identity must be accepted, and no requirement for a specific type of document … may be imposed”); see also ACIN I-39-13 (homeless youth are not required to have photo I.D.)] To prove identity, an applicant can use such things as a work or school I.D., an I.D. card for health benefits, an I.D. from another social services program such as CalWORKs (TANF). An applicant can also use wage stubs, a birth certificate, or a voter registration card. [MPP § 63-300.5(e)(3).]

Collateral contacts: The CalFresh caseworker can also verify a person’s identity by calling someone, such as a shelter worker or an employer, who can confirm their identity. Under the CalFresh rules, a phone call to someone who can confirm a person’s identity is called a “collateral contact.” [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(C)(vii); MPP § 63-300.5(h)(2).]

Residency: Homeless households are not required to verify where they live. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(C)(vi); MPP § 63-401.5.] Residency need not be verified “in unusual cases (such as homeless households, some migrant farm worker households, or households newly arrived in a project area) where verification of residency cannot be reasonably accomplished.” [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)C)(vi).] But if the person lives in a shelter, it may be helpful to bring a letter to the CalFresh office from a shelter employee confirming that fact.