94-year-old waits on Nebraska, federal agencies to verify ID

When her driver’s license and passport expired, obtaining a state ID card became much more difficult.
A 94-year-old Omaha woman has led quite a life, but now she’s jumping through hoops to get documentation that she even exists.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 4:38 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A 94-year-old Omaha woman has led quite a life, but now she’s jumping through hoops to get documentation that she even exists.

Though born in Canada with family in Scotland, Jeanie Brotherston only travels by walker these days. So when she moved to an Omaha retirement community, she no longer needed her passport or Michigan driver’s license.

“If your driver’s license has expired or your passport has expired, does that make you not exist? Do you expire when your ID expires?” asked Brotherston’s niece, Barb Tozser.

Tozser has been helping her aunt try to get a Nebraska state ID card she needs to open a bank account in Omaha — and much more.

Though she doesn’t travel or drive anymore, the elderly woman still gets around, and that state ID will help her get a handicapped parking placard that will make life easier for her and her niece.

But taking the required paperwork to the Nebraska DMV, Brotherston’s state ID application was put on hold until her 1963 citizenship document can be verified.

“When we had that happen, I at least thought it would happen quickly — that they would get verification, and we would be able to get her ID,” Tozser said. “But it’s been over 40 days. We have not received any confirmation from immigration, and when I check it yesterday, case is still pending.”

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles sent 6 News an email that the state DMV escalated a verification request to a third level with the U.S. citizenship and immigration services. The Nebraska DMV director said the delay in getting Brotherston her state ID card is at the federal level, not the state DMV.

“I would like to be treated like a citizen,” Brotherston said. “After all the paperwork, what have I done to deserve this?”

The state said it will work on getting Brotherston a handicapped parking placard if she can provide a valid form of identification. So the staff of the retirement home sent her medical information to the DMV for proof. Now she and her niece wait for a mirror hanger.

“We are going to go someplace where we can park close enough without having a handicap parking placard to get a bite to eat,” Tozser said.

But without a state ID, Brotherston said she hopes she doesn’t get carded.

6 News contacted the federal agency handling the citizenship verification, and it’s looking into the delay. The state has been told those requests can take 40 days or more.