Not Quite Calm After the Storm – How to Replace Your Lost or Destroyed Vital Documents

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How to Replace Your Lost or Destroyed Vital Documents

As many local residents take in displaced family from hurricane stricken areas  – here are some tips to help recover lost legal documents:

Replacing all vital documents that were lost or destroyed in a flood, fire, or other disaster can be overwhelming. Although the process varies state to state, these general steps can help you get started.

  1. Replace your birth certificate. Find thevital records office in the state where you were born. Check to find out if you can obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate without any identification and follow the instructions. A few states don’t require a government-issued photo ID, or accept other solutions like a sworn statement of your identity. Some states allow your mother or father whose name is on the birth certificate to submit a notarized letter with a copy of their photo ID. If you do need your own government-issued photo ID to get a copy of your birth certificate, start with step 2.
  2. Replace your driver’s license. Get this first if you cannot get your birth certificate.This task varies state to state. In some states, you can do it online.
  3. Replace your marriage certificate. You’ll need a certified copy as proof if you changed your name when you got married. Contact the vital records officein the state where you were married.
  4. Replace your Social Security card. You will need a government-issued photo ID. Getting a replacement card is free.
  5. Replace your passport.Report your lost or destroyed passport to the Department of State. To apply for a new passport, you’ll need to fill out a form DS-11 and go to a passport acceptance facility or agency. You’ll need your birth certificate or a certified copy, and a government-issued photo ID.
  6. Replace other important documents. Yourstate or local election office can tell you how to replace your voter registration card. Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to find out how to replace naturalization or citizenship documents. Learn how to replace other documents including Medicare and Medicaid cards and military and federal employee IDs.

Government agencies usually mail replacement vital documents. But if your home was destroyed in a disaster, you might not be able to get your mail. Contact your local post office and ask if you can pick up your mail there or request to have your mail forwarded to a temporary location.

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