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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

FAQs: For Program Participants

What should I do if I have questions about establishing utility services?
How do I withdraw from the Safe at Home program?
I established my own PO Box in addition to my Safe at Home PO Box address. Is another party required to accept that other address if that's the address I want them to use?
The information on my Safe at Home application has changed, so what should I do?
Will Safe at Home forward all of my mail to me?
Can I still be in Safe at Home if I move to another state?
Why doesn't Safe at Home forward packages?
What should I do if my bank tells me they need my real address due to the PATRIOT Act?
What should I do if someone tells me they are required to get my real address?
Who must accept my Safe at Home address?
As a Safe at Home participant, do I have to disclose my work address to others?
Can I have my Safe at Home address put on my driver's license or state identification card?
Can I still receive county services if I am a Safe at Home participant?
How do I vote as a Safe at Home participant?
What if I am the subject of a pending or ongoing criminal matter when I enroll?
When will Safe at Home disclose my real address?
What if my actual address changes while I am a Safe at Home participant?
Can I give consent to Safe at Home to share my personal information with others?
Does Safe at Home charge a fee for being in the program?
What is the length of enrollment in Safe at Home?
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Q: What should I do if I have questions about establishing utility services?
A:
If you have questions about establishing utilities (i.e. gas, electricity) as a Safe at Home participant, refer to your Information Packet or call Safe at Home at 651-201-1399 or 1-866-723-3035.
Q: How do I withdraw from the Safe at Home program?
A:
If you are a Safe at Home participant and wish to withdraw from the program, you can withdraw by submitting a withdrawal form or a letter that contains certain information. To obtain a withdrawal form or to learn more about withdrawing, call Safe at Home at 651-201-1399 or 1-866-723-3035.

 

Q: I established my own PO Box in addition to my Safe at Home PO Box address. Is another party required to accept that other address if that's the address I want them to use?
A:
No. The law only requires another party to accept your Safe at Home PO Box address. They do not have to accept another PO Box address or alternate address just because you want them to use an address other then your Safe at Home address. Telling them so is a misrepresentation of the laws governing Safe at Home.
Q: The information on my Safe at Home application has changed, so what should I do?
A:
By law, as a Safe at Home participant you are required to notify Safe at Home if information on your original application has changed. In essence, this means you must update our office of telephone number changes, address changes, legal names changes, or if you add a child to your household.

Submit a completed blue Change of Information Form indicating your changes and mail it to Safe at Home. Be sure to include your signature on the form. If you do not have a Change of Information Form, please refer to page 7 of your Safe at Home Information Packet or call our office.

Q: Will Safe at Home forward all of my mail to me?
A:
Safe at Home only forwards First Class Mail. Certified Mail is considered First Class Mail. Safe at Home does not forward Standard Mail ("junk mail"), or Periodicals (magazines, newspapers, etc.). Safe at Home does not forward packages either, unless the packages clearly indicate that they are being sent from a government agency or unless the packages are clearly identifiable pharmaceuticals-medicines that you want to get through the mail. Call Safe at Home to ask how to do this before you order medicines through the mail.
Q: Can I still be in Safe at Home if I move to another state?
A:

No. Minnesota's address confidentiality program is only for people who live in Minnesota.

There are approximately 30 states with address confidentiality programs. More than likely, if you were a participant of Minnesota's program you would be eligible to join another state's program. We encourage you to research whether the state you are thinking of moving to has a program if you desire the type of security an address confidentiality program provides. Feel free to call Minnesota's Safe at Home office for assistance.

Q: Why doesn't Safe at Home forward packages?
A:

Because it is not safe.

You are in an address confidentiality program for serious safety reasons. We cannot risk forwarding a package to you that contains a tracking device, nor can we risk the safety of Safe at Home staff or the confidential location of the Safe at Home office.

 

Q: What should I do if my bank tells me they need my real address due to the PATRIOT Act?
A:

Do not give your real address to your bank.

The federal government has given financial institutions a directive that they are not to capture the real addresses of banking customers who are participants of Safe at Home. Your bank or credit union should be aware of the (other) physical address they should document to accommodate the requirements of the PATRIOT Act. If they do not know this, you or your bank should call the Safe at Home office during regular business hours and the Safe at Home State Program Administrator will give them the information they need in place of your real physical address.

Take your Safe at Home card with you to your bank when you go to change the personal information on your account, just in case you need to call the Safe at Home office if you encounter a problem.

 

Q: What should I do if someone tells me they are required to get my real address?
A:

Minnesota law requires everyone to accept your Safe at Home address as your real address. Most likely, the person telling you they are required to get your real address is just following a standard procedure that they typically follow. But, that standard procedure needs to be altered to accommodate the fact that you are a Safe at Home participant. They are required by law to do so.

Aside from utility companies needing your address to provide your service*, the only reason you can be required to disclose your real address is if there is a federal law requiring you to disclose it. This is because federal law always supersedes state law.

*Be sure to set up your utilities as advised by Safe at Home.

 

Q: Who must accept my Safe at Home address?
A:

All public and private entities in the state of Minnesota must accept your assigned Safe at Home address (PO Box) as your actual address of residence, school address, and address of employment. This requirement is mandated by Minnesota Statutes Chapter 5B.

If someone is insisting that you disclose your real address, call the Safe at Home office before you make any disclosure!

Q: As a Safe at Home participant, do I have to disclose my work address to others?
A:
No. Minnesota Statutes, section 5B.05(b) allows participants to use their assigned Safe at Home address as their work address.
Q: Can I have my Safe at Home address put on my driver's license or state identification card?
A:

Yes. If you are a Safe at Home participant, you can have your Safe at Home address put on your Minnesota driver's license or state identification card.

Remember, by law you are not required to disclose your actual residential address to the Department of Vehicle Services when you apply for a driver's license or state identification card.

Q: Can I still receive county services if I am a Safe at Home participant?
A:
Yes. You can still receive county services if you are a Safe at Home participant. To receive county services (aside from residency-related conditions of probation or similar criminal justice system management), you do not need to disclose your actual address if the services will not be rendered in your home. You only need to disclose your county of residence.
Q: How do I vote as a Safe at Home participant?
A:

If you want to vote and you are a Safe at Home participant, do not go into your local polling place.

You can register to be ongoing absentee voter through Safe at Home. It is the only way to vote and not have your personal information (your name and address) accessible to others.Voting by absentee ballot through the Safe at Home office is done entirely through the mail. You are notified of an upcoming election in your community in plenty of time to vote by absentee ballot, and your ballot is never viewed by Safe at Home staff.

If you are a Safe at Home participant and did not register to be an ongoing absentee voter during your application process, call Safe at Home at 651-201-1399 or 1-866-723-3035 for assistance. You can also call if you have questions about the voting process in general, or refer to the Guide to Voting for Safe at Home Participants in your Safe at Home Information Packet.

Q: What if I am the subject of a pending or ongoing criminal matter when I enroll?
A:
If you are the subject of a pending or ongoing criminal matter or offense when you enroll in Safe at Home, you are required to inform the prosecuting jurisdiction of your newly assigned Safe at Home address so they know how to contact you. You must also inform the prosecuting jurisdiction that you have designated the secretary of state as your agent for purposes of service of process. To assist you with this, you will be given a form letter to complete during your application process, and on your Safe at Home application you will give consent to Safe at Home to assist you with notifying the prosecuting jurisdiction(s) of this information.  

Q: When will Safe at Home disclose my real address?
A:
Data on Safe at Home participants, applicants, and eligible persons is classified as private data under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13. Safe at Home will only release data on these individuals in response to a valid court order. In the case of an applicant who knowingly provides false information on an application, Safe at Home may contact the appropriate authorities.

Safe at Home may release data to law enforcement authorities in emergency situations. However, law enforcement requests must be made by utilizing the law enforcement data request procedure through the Duty Officer at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The law enforcement request is screened at two levels.

Other than these rare situations, your real address remains under security with the Safe at Home office. Under no other circumstances is it disclosed.

Q: What if my actual address changes while I am a Safe at Home participant?
A:
By law, if you are a Safe at Home participant and you move, you must inform Safe at Home in writing of your address change at least two days before you move. The written notification requires a signature.

You may submit a completed blue Change of Information Form, or you can write your new address on a piece of paper, sign the paper and mail it to the Safe at Home office.

If you do not update Safe at Home of your address change, your program participation will be cancelled.

Q: Can I give consent to Safe at Home to share my personal information with others?
A:

As a Safe at Home participant, you may give Safe at Home written consent to share your information with others in order for Safe at Home to assist you with your interactions with other entities.

However, you can NEVER give Safe at Home consent to disclose your actual address to a third party. This policy is in place for your own safety.

Q: Does Safe at Home charge a fee for being in the program?
A:
No. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State does not charge a fee to participants to be in Safe at Home.
Q: What is the length of enrollment in Safe at Home?
A:
The length of enrollment is four years.

  • A participant may renew their enrollment at the end of four years.
  • A participant may voluntarily withdraw from the program at any time.
  • Safe at Home may cancel a person's participation in the program with cause.
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