Formal proof of ID can be challenging for the elderly.  Often they have given up their driver’s licence.  They no longer travel overseas so their passports have expired.  Often their use of technology is limited or they don’t use it at all.  In some cases they still use a bank passbook and don’t get bank statements and papers and documents are easy to misplace or miss  if eyesight is failing.

Recently I was acting for a 97 year old Australian citizen who had to provide ID confirmation for 2 separate but related matters.  Interestingly the ID requirements for each of those matters were different.

One matter had 3 categories to choose from and a document needed to be provided from each category:

Category 1

– Australian birth certificate (full or extract)
– Australian citizenship certificate

Category 2

– current Australian passport
– current Australian driver’s licence, RMS photo care or current B    D & M birth card
– personal reference from Australian citizen (statutory declaration) if applicant didn’t possess the above 2 documents from this category

Category 3

– recent utility bill
– most recent bank statement issued
– personsal reference (and this cannot double up with the personal reference in Category 2)

The personal reference also had to provide supporting ID documentation from 1 of each of the 3 above categories.

The other matter had several categories only if you could not satisfy the first category.

First category

– current driver’s licence or current passport

Second category

– Birth certificate with marriage certificate if surname differs
– citizenship certificate
– Centerlink pension care
together with 1 of the following:

– rates notice issued in the last 3 months
– utility notice issued in the last 3 months
– ATO assessment notice issued in the last 12 months

With difficulty I was able to gather the ID for the 1st matter using a birth certificate , personal reference from a friend of the client and a recent utility bill issued.

However, I was not able to produce the ID for the 2nd matter because:

– the client did not have a current driver’s licence or passport
– the client’s birth certificate differed from any other documentation as she had married over 70 years ago and had lost the marriage certificate, she never had a citizen certificate as she was born here and she was not in receipt of a Centerlink pension.

Yes, we could have applied for a copy of the marriage certificate but by this stage, after having to search all the client’s papers and documents and gather what we could for her ID requirements, at 97 it was becoming all to hard.

If you have elderly parents or relatives who no longer drive and have allowed their passport to expire it will be extremely difficult and time consuming for all people involved to gather the correct proof of ID documents quickly and easily.   As people are living longer the issue of proving ID for the elderly will crop up more and more.

Some elderly people are entitled to DVA benefits and therefore will not have a Centerlink pension card, however  DVA may not be  an allowable ID proving document.

One way to make things easier would be to ensure your elderly parent or relative keeps a current passport in hand.  Expired passports can still be used to renew a passport if they have expired less than 3 years before the renewal appplication.

In this client’s situation it would have made things so much easier.