Disaster Assistance: Lost Documents

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

Read Online


Important papers can get lost or destroyed, or you just cannot get to them. Here are tips for getting replacements, or help with replacements.   


Birth certificates

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.


Driver's license

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.

To get your Social Security check, visit SSA.gov. You can get emergency payments if needed. To learn more, log onto socialsecurity.gov.


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.


Credit cards

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.


Immigration documents

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.


Insurance documents

Contact your insurance agency. Your doctor might also have a copy of your insurance card.


Medicare cards

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.

Download | Printer-friendly

Last Review and Update: Sep 17, 2020
Was this information helpful?
Back to top