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MVD reverses course, OKs laminated Social Security cards

LAMINATE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY CARD:

The changes just keep coming from the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division.

Last week, eight long months after New Mexico implemented Real ID driver’s licenses and ID cards, the state revealed that residents can now present a laminated Social Security card as proof of their identification number.

Last fall, the state Taxation and Revenue Department, which oversees MVD, had announced that the Social Security administration does not allow the cards to be laminated because that obscures some of the safety features, so MVD would not accept laminated cards. That has sent many New Mexicans scrambling for replacement Social Security cards or hunting down W-2 or 1099 tax forms with their full Social Security number on them.

But, on Tuesday, Ben Cloutier, director of communications for Tax & Rev, said “after receiving federal guidance from both the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, MVD is now accepting laminated Social Security cards. The MVD is able to verify the Social Security number with the Social Security Administration network at the time of the transaction, allowing for us to accept laminated Social Security cards.”

It’s unclear if the new policy has anything to do with a lawsuit filed a week earlier, July 17, by Nancy Roehl against a private contract MVD office because she “attempted to obtain a Real ID but was denied because her Social Security card was laminated.” Roehl is “suing for reimbursement of time, effort and potential future citation costs.”

And it’s unclear why Roehl didn’t simply substitute a 1099 or W-2 for her laminated card.

But the bottom line for New Mexicans is they can now slide that laminated Social Security card across the counter to prove their identification number when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or ID.

MORE ON REAL ID MIDDLE INITIALS: After MVD recently announced it would also accept “any documents with a matching first and last name with either a middle initial or spelled out middle name – as long as the names don’t conflict,” reader J. Marie Daniels had to weigh in.

“Those of us that have gone by our middle name with the first initial have been in a mess for years! There has been no way to use first initial, middle name, last name! No way! John Jacob Smith became: JJohn Smith. Try telling a clerk in a store that your name is not misspelled. It’s just the N.M. computer system not able to use a space, period or any way to indicate what name really is.”

Cloutier says “upon request, MVD can use punctuation – period, apostrophe, comma or hyphen.”

HYBRIDS NEED EMISSIONS CHECKS: J. Marie was also surprised that her 2007 Camry hybrid “had to have an emissions test. … According to what I went through in March, only 100-percent-electric cars are now exempt! Smart Car and Tesla! How did they get that rule passed?”

Cloutier explains “the requirements for vehicle emission tests have not changed. All vehicles except those that are 100 percent electric – no emissions – must get regular emissions tests” in Bernalillo County.

AND YOU CAN SEND YOUR EMISSIONS IN IF YOU FORGOT: Michael H. called after a recent column to say he realized he, too, did not send in an emissions slip with his vehicle renewal.

Cloutier says as long as two years have not passed and your emissions certificate is still current there is no charge – just mail the new emissions check slip to 1100 South St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, N.M., 87504.

If your emissions certificate is more than two years old, there’s a $30 fee to reinstate your vehicle registration.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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