(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) to permit homeless persons to receive a copy of their birth certificate without paying a fee was signed into law on Monday.
Under the new law (formerly A-2106), a request for the birth certificate is to be made through a social worker or through a coordinator of the emergency shelter where the person is staying, using the letterhead of the shelter or the social worker’s agency or professional practice, and is to include the address and employer identification number of the emergency shelter or social worker’s agency or professional practice.
“Many homeless citizens have no hope of getting off the streets and accessing social services and government benefits without proof of identity,” said Mukherji. “For homeless New Jerseyans’ looking to get identification, a birth certificate may be a prerequisite.”
Mukherji added that identification is often required for most types of general assistance, medical coverage, food stamps, and disability benefits.
“The enactment of this law can be a first step toward healthcare, government assistance, and a path to self-sufficiency and a roof over their heads,” Mukherji continued.
The free copy of the birth certificate should be given to the coordinator who made the request.
The General Assembly and the Senate approved the bill in November.