There are many agencies that are run by the state government and require an individual to prove they are a legal resident of the state in order to receive benefits. Some argue that this is a violation of their right to privacy. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has been careful to make it clear that states are allowed to impose these types of residency requirements in some instances. However, a state has to be able to prove that the residency requirement is in the interest of the state and not in violation of the fundamental rights of a person. For instance, if the state is the funding entity for certain benefits, they want to ensure they are putting money toward a true resident of the state. Welfare, public housing, medical care and voting privileges are all state based benefits that require residency.
Welfare and Residency Requirements
Most states require an individual to be a resident for one year before they can apply for welfare assistance. The Court has ruled for the individuals saying that the states can only prove the individual is a resident of the state, not how long they have been in the state.
Public Housing and Residency Requirements
Many times a person has to prove they have been a resident of a state for an extended period of time before being admitted into low or moderate income public housing. The courts ruled that the government offices cannot use longevity of state residency when determining eligibility for public housing. It lends itself too easily to discriminatory practices.
Medical Services and Residency Requirements
A person who is a resident cannot be deprived of basic medical services because they haven’t fulfilled residency requirements. The Courts stated that medical care is a basic right and cannot be denied based on residency.
Voting Rights and Residency Requirements
States can ask voters to prove their residency prior to being given voting privileges in the state. This is deemed similar to obtaining a driver’s license for a particular state. Obtaining residential information is not a violation of privacy in these instances since they must verify legal data such as age as well prior to being given this privilege.