During disasters, the most important thing is to save the lives of our loved ones and more importantly, to be safe. However, during these natural disasters or house fires, our documents are in danger of either getting lost or being damaged. These documents can either be general or sensitive documents. Although most of the general documents are easy to replace, confidential documents require different procedures. The most common question is ‘where to get a new social security card’ and more importantly, ‘the procedure to follow when acquiring a new social security card.’ The following is a complete guide on where to get new documents and what the state agencies require from you.
Why is it essential to replace documents?
Replacing lost or damaged documents, is the best way to avoid identity theft. In the last two decades, cases of identity theft have been on the increase. Replacing these crucial documents helps you to protect your credit score, as people cannot use your details to obtain loans. Identity theft can also affect your telephones accounts and other intimate accounts. The federal government expects you to report any case involving lost or damaged documents. Once reported, the government agencies can help to protect your identity and more importantly, help in replacing these crucial documents.
Second, you need these documents to access services. Like most developed countries, documents such as social security cards help the government and private entities to identify you. However, without these vital documents, it is hard for financial institutions to identify you. Without identification, it is hard to secure credit facilities and other important backing services. The federal government also uses these documents to identify people and lack of these vital documents can lead to endless questioning on one’s nationality. Therefore, replacing documents is both an important step to accessing all the financial services and governmental services. Insurance companies are also keen on documentation.
Procedures for replacing vital documents in the USA
- How to replace a lost social security card
There are different procedures for replacing a lost social security card depending on your locality. There are five different localities that you do not need to dill any physical form because the whole process is online. These localities include Wisconsin, District of Columbia, Washington, Nebraska, and Michigan. The only requirement on replacing social security card is reporting the loss on the official government website in charge with social security. The process of replacing this document is free. When you report the loss of your social security card, the relevant government agency is mandated to give you an estimated replacement time.
For other localities in the USA, the procedure of replacing a lost or damaged social security card is different. You need to fill out a federal document to prove ownership of the lost card. The form, in this case, is SS-5, which comes with some requirements. After filling in all the details, the Social Security expects you to mail the form with one of the following original documents. You can use your original U.S passport or your driver’s license. The state agency only accepts original documents and mailing photocopies is not acceptable. After filling out the SS-5 form, the agency allows you to send the above documents, or take them to the nearby office.
This state agency expects you to report the loss on its website before starting this process.
- Procedure for replacing a lost or damaged passport
Did you know that the U.S passport is the number one document used for identity theft? The federal government and the relevant government agencies expect you to report the loss of your passport as soon as possible. You must report the case with the State Department on its official website as soon as possible. On this website, there are tons of forms, but the appropriate form is DS-64.
Once you have filled the form, the State Department sends a confirmation through an email indicating that they have received the DS-64 form. However, the state agency takes some few more days to enter your details to Consular Lost or Stolen Database. Fortunately, they will notify you when they add your details on this platform. After your details are put on Consular Lost or Stolen Database, it is easier to reapply for another passport. Most of the government facilities serve as Passport Application Acceptance Facilities, and some of these facilities include local government offices and most public libraries. Through the agency’s website, you can check which facility is near you.
Although the whole process is fast and has unmatched timelines, the replacement fee is $135, payable to the state agency.
- Procedure on replacing personal documents
Documents such as credit and debit cards have different replacement procedures compared to the state documents. For ATM and all the relevant banking cards, different financial institutions have different policies on replacements. However, pundits point out that reporting the loss to the relevant authorities is vital. For checkbooks and other banking documents, financial institutions expect you to report the incident and more importantly, fill out relevant forms.
Unlike the state documents, which have specific timelines, different financial institutions have different replacement timeframes. These institutions also have different charges on replacing personal documents, and the fees are not subject to any external laws. However, loss of these documents do not subject you to identity theft, and this means that they are easier and faster to replace. Most of the financial institutions charge relatively less amount of money compared replacing to state documents.
- How to replace a lost or a damaged Medicare card
Did you know that Medicare card frauds are on the increase in the USA? This means that losing your Medicare card can be a recipe card misuse by another person. The government, through Social Security office, advises people to report the loss of their Medicare cards as soon as possible. Unlike other government documentation, Medicare is replaceable by making a call to the state agency. In return, the government agency ensures that the previous card is removed from their system and the process of acquiring one starts. In addition to a fast process, replacing a Medicare card is free.
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