Clerk's program helps clear confusion about DMV visits

Program intended to help senior citizens and others prepare for Real ID change in 2020 and other DMV documentations

Mike Baggerman
December 02, 2019 - 3:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - A program inside the Erie County Clerk's office that began earlier this year has goals of helping senior citizens maneuver through the complexities of any visit to a local DMV.

"Clerk on the Go", a program which began in February, also helps members of the local refugee community and those who don't primarily speak English.

"After 9/11, Congress passed the Real ID Act," Clerk Mickey Kearns said. "We've heard a lot about that. On October 1, 2020, you're going to need either a Real ID or enhanced driver's license to get on a plane domestically, to get into a federal building, or to cross into Canada. It's a really important documentation and many of our senior citizens and people who haven't been to the auto bureau in eight years (don't realize that we've) upgrade technology. They're going to have to bring in original documentation."

Outreach Coordinator Marge Sullivan said the program helps those unfamiliar with the inner-workings of the DMV get ready for the visit.

"To find a Clerk On The Go location, we do have full listings on (our website)" Sullivan said. "You can also go to any of the senior centers in the Erie County area. They do have postings and flyers out. We also do mailers to let people know we are coming to them and can service them at an area that's convenient to them."

Anyone who visits a Clerk On The Go site can also make a physical reservation at a local auto bureau and receive a checklist of things needed to ensure that a visit will run smoothly.

"Instead of being there for 20 minutes and unsure they have the right stuff and have to return, they're in-and-out in ten minutes and well on their way to Real ID," Sullivan said.

Clerk On The Go utilizes about five people who primarily deal with these outreach events, though Sullivan said it's a collaborative group that all participates. The program is estimating 150 outreach events in 2019, meaning they do roughly three events per week to get people ready for the major change come next October.

"My neighbor called me because he didn't know what to do," Sullivan said. "A hard-working individual goes to work every day definitely should not struggle but there's just so much uncertainty about what you need."

The clerk's office has distributed thousands of informational flyers at the events. Their office has another Clerk On The Go event scheduled for this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Seneca Community Center. See a full calendar of events by clicking here

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