Identity checking: names

Talking to stakeholders helped us identify pain points and opportunities to improve the identity checking (TPIV) process, which is part of the eligibility check the National Verifier will perform.

We learned that even when gathering something as simple as a name, extra guidance and flexibility can help increase success.

Customers need more than “first name” and “last name”

We heard about the need for extra name flexibility in the name fields. In particular, we heard that it’s important to include fields for middle names, suffixes, and multiple last names. We also heard that a low character minimum is important, as some customers have names with only 1 or 2 letters.

Consumer groups recommended that in addition to labeling the fields as “first name” and “last name,” we consider adding “given name” and “family name” for cultures who use their family name first.

Common pitfalls with names

Advice we heard over and over again was to be specific that the customer needs to use their full legal name, not a nickname.

Name tag sticker
Customers are required to use their full legal name – not a nickname – to check their Lifeline eligibility.

It’s a common pitfall that customers begin their application by entering a nickname, for example, “Jen” instead of “Jennifer.” Stakeholders recommended communicating this to Lifeline consumers by asking for the name they use on official documents such as their social security card or state ID.

We also heard that a common barrier is when a customer’s name recently changed due to marriage or divorce. Stakeholders recommended we mention upfront that recent name changes may require consumers to show a marriage certificate or divorce decree. Likewise, USAC should be prepared for this as the most common issue customers encounter with identity checking.


What challenges do you find with entering Lifeline customers’ names and identity verification?

What advice do you have for making this process as smooth as possible in the National Verifier?

Author: lifelineprogram

The Lifeline Program helps families in need afford voice and broadband connectivity services.

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