Want to ask a question? Click here

Is a photo ID required when applying for welfare, including food stamps?

Mike Voorheis


The short answer is no, although it certainly makes things easier.

There are numerous other ways to verify identity and claim welfare and food stamps.

The website FRAC.org gives some helpful information on the food stamp program, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP:

“The SNAP/Food Stamp caseworker is required to verify your identity. 7 CFR 273.2(f). There are many ways, however, that you may verify your identity. A photo ID is only one way. You should not be denied SNAP/Food Stamps simply because you do not have a photo ID. To prove who you are, you can use such things as a work or school ID, an ID for health benefits, an ID from another social services program such as TANF, wage stubs, a birth certificate, or a voter registration card. The SNAP/Food Stamp caseworker can also verify your identity by calling a “collateral contact” who can confirm you who are. Shelter workers and employers are examples of possible collateral contacts. If you have no paper documentation of who you are, you should ask the SNAP/Food Stamp caseworker to call a collateral contact.

“Homeless households are not required to verify where they live. If you are living in a shelter, however, it may be helpful to bring a letter to the SNAP/Food Stamp office which is written by a shelter employee and says that you are living in the shelter.”

Christine McNamee and Gwen Stahl, at the New Hanover County Division of Social Services, helped with the question on welfare, which North Carolina calls Work First.

They listed 15 documents that could help establish identity for a Work First subject. Applicants need to supply two of these documents to support their claim on N.C. residency:

1. Driver’s license or ID card

2. Rent receipt

3. Utility bill

4. Motor vehicle registration

5. Documentation from an employer

6. Closed bank account or termination of employment from another state

7. Tax records

8. Registration with an employment agency

8. Children’s school records

9. Food stamps/Medicaid documentation

10. Records from health care provider

11. Written declaration from collateral contact

12. Voter registration card

13. VA or military documentation

14. N.C. school records diploma

15. Document from foreign consulate


Is it legal for DSS workers to reveal the identities of people who are applying for or receiving food and nutrition services?

If I’m a senior where do I apply for Social Security benefits, food stamps or other assistance?

User-contributed question by:
Richard Klaess

Got a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Click here to let us know!

Bookmark and Share

Ask a question

Ask a question

If you’re looking for answers about living in coastal North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll find out or try to find someone who does. Hey, that’s our job! So, ask your question below and we’ll do our best to find the answer. Once we do, we’ll post it in an appropriate category.

Can we use your name to credit you by name (no e-mail or other contact information) with this question when we post an answer?
Your question:

Post a comment

Talk to us!

Have a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Use this form to let us know. Note that all comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted, although you may see your own comments the first time you post them.

Your comment: