Disaster Assistance: Lost Documents
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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In times like this, important papers, legal and otherwise, can get lost, destroyed, or are just unreachable. Here are some suggestions for how to get replacements, or help with replacements. #9903EN
Important papers can get lost or destroyed, or you just cannot get to them. Here are tips for getting replacements, or help with replacements.
Contact family or your employer first. They might have copies of these. If so, they might be able to get them to you faster than Vital Records or Statistics.
Your employer might have a copy of this. Contact them first.
The Department of Licensing might be able to get you a replacement quickly.
Social Security cards and payments
Your employer might have a copy of your Social Security card. Contact them first.
Otherwise, visit SSA to get a replacement.
U.S. Mail - service changes
Contact your local or closest post office to make a change of address, pick up mail, or call 800-ASK-USPS (275-8777) for help for evacuees.
Bank accounts, credit and ATM cards
If you do not have an ATM card, or the disaster destroyed your bank, contact your bank in-person, online or by phone.
- For your bank's contact information, visit https://research2.fdic.gov/bankfind. If you do your banking with a credit union, visit https://mapping.ncua.gov instead.
Call the bank that gave you the card to get a new one as soon as possible. Ask them to waive (excuse you from paying) payments, late fees and over limit fees.
Food assistance and EBT card
Call the Customer Contact Center, 1-877-501-2233, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., weekdays. Or visit www.washingtonconnection.org.
You can replace your permanent resident card or two-year card by filing a USCIS Form I-90. To learn more, visit www.uscis.gov/forms/explore-my-options/renew-or-replace-my-green-card.
Contact your insurance agency. Your doctor might also have a copy of your insurance card.
Contact the Social Security office to ask for a replacement card.
Your doctor might also have a copy of your Medicare card.
Deeds and mortgages
Your County Clerk has these documents, if you recorded them for filing. If the disaster destroyed your originals, you can probably get copies here if you need them.
Children's immunization records
Visit the state's registry to learn more.
If you need other proof of identity or of where you live:
- Ask your utility company for a copy of your last bill. This can help prove residency (where you live).
- Ask any accountant or tax preparation service you use for copies of your tax return. This can help prove your identity (you are who you say you are).
We adapted this from materials authored by Lone Star Legal Aid with their permission.