INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Starting in October 2020, you will need a special identification card just to board a domestic flight, enter federal buildings or go on military bases. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is converting hundreds of driver’s licenses to what are called “Real ID’s.”
One woman came to I-Team 8 because no one seemed to be able to help her. Because of issues with her legal name, she could not get a Real ID. The issue she had was so usual, the people at the BMV said they had never seen anything quite as complicated.
She goes by Debby Stollings, but Stollings’ given name is Debhora. Stollings is about to retire, and wants to be able to travel. For that, she will need a Real ID by October 2020.
“I don’t want to sit home,” said Stollings. “I’d like to go places and do things.”
But when she went to get her Real ID, the BMV would not let her. Here’s the issue:
On her birth certificate, her name is Debhora Cullison. Her high school diploma says the same thing.
Her first Social Security card says Debby Cullison. Her marriage license says Deborah Cullison, but she signed it Debby. Her second Social security card says Debby Stollings, and so does her driver’s license.
Because of the three different first names (Debhora, Deborah, and Debby), they would not give her a Real ID.
“It just makes me feel helpless because it’s just a first name we are fighting over,” Stollings said.
I-Team 8 went to work finding out how all this happened. Green County, where she got married, said signing the marriage license with a nickname is still legally binding. As for the misspelling of the first name, they say they go by whatever is filled out on the application. Bloomfield Schools said they use whatever name students use to register.
Then I-Team 8 called the Social Security Administration. They said until the 1970s, they assigned Social Security numbers based on whatever you told them – and they didn’t make you prove it. Stollings got both of her Social Security cards before the legal name policy went into effect in 2005.
We also talked with people at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
“Probably the biggest issue that we’ve seen is name change, things like getting married,” said BMV spokesperson Christine Meyer.
Meyer said they had never seen a situation like Stollings’. Meyer told I-Team 8 Stollings could get the Real ID if she could get a correct Social Security card. After weeks of calls, paperwork and a new Social Security card, Stollings finally has her Real ID.
Meyer wanted I-Team 8 to emphasize that going from a traditional ID to a Real ID should not be as complicated as it was for Stollings.
The most common complication they see is with name changes after a marriage or adoption. To help alleviate these kinds of problems, Meyer recommends using your full middle name on official documents. They also have a guide showing what you will need to bring to the BMV to get your Real ID.