Identification Documents and Name Changes

Obtaining identification documents is often a circular path.  To get a birth certificate, you need a Social Security card. To get a Social Security card, you need photo ID. To get photo ID, you need a birth certificate.

Fortunately, a lawyer, using their own photo ID and attorney’s license, may order a birth certificate for a client.  Even after receiving their birth certificate, there can be problems. Sometimes, the name listed on a birth certificate is wrong or does not match the name the person has used or wants to use.  We assist in resolving these issues by either requesting an administrative correction to the birth certificate or by filing court documents to legally change the client’s name

Some of our clients need legal identification documents that confirm their chosen names. We provide assistance with name changes for transgender clients, survivors of intimate partner violence, and other vulnerable individuals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health waives the fee for birth certificates requested by applicants who are affected by opioid use disorder or experiencing homeless. 

The application for those affected by opioid use is here.

The application for those experiencing homeless is here

Additionally, Act 131 of 2020, which Governor Tom Wolf recently signed into law, makes it possible for Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness to be issued a free initial photo ID or renewal. Individuals will be required to apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center and must meet identification and other requirements. Additional information can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Services website, This section of the law is effective January 25, 2021.