Disaster Recovery May Include Replacing Personal Documents

COLLEGE STATION – When disaster strikes, chaos reigns. Taking care of the safety of loved ones takes first priority, but recovery may also include rebuilding financial and personal information.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s publication, “Personal and Family Financial Records Inventory” (B-1330), has places to list important financial information, such as names of financial advisors, numbers of accounts and names of financial institutions and insurance companies. This publication available through the AgriLife Extension Bookstore at http://agrilifebookstore.org.

“We rarely give thought to the important documents and personal records in our lives,” said Nancy Granovsky, AgriLife Extension family economics specialist. “But when we lose them or they are ruined by water or wind, our first concern is to have to replace them.”

Granovsky recommended visiting the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/hurricane/tips.htmlhttp://www.fdic.gov/news/katrina/tips.html. These are some of the FDIC’s suggestions:

– To replace a Texas driver’s license or state identification card, contact the Texas Department of Public Safety Austin headquarters, 512-424-2600 or go to the Web at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us or call the issuing county office of the department.

– To replace checks, credit cards, ATM and/or debit cards, or to check on safe deposit boxes, contact your financial institution or get contact information from the FDIC at 877-275-3342. (For the hearing impaired call 800-925-4618 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday through Friday.)

– To replace credit cards contact the issuing institution. Some of these are: American Express at 800-992-3404, Discover at 800-347-2683; MasterCard at 800-622-7747 (for the hearing impaired, call 636-722-3725), and Visa at 800-847-2911.

– To get credit reports from any of the major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion – call 877-322-8228 or go to http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

– To replace Social Security cards, another form of identification, such as a driver’s license, will be required. For information, call 800-772-1213 (for the hearing impaired, call 800-325-0778) or visit the Web at http://www.socialsecurity.gov and click on “Your Social Security Number and Card.”

Other information on replacing items and documents:

– Mutilated currency can be replaced by the Treasury Department. For information on what bills will be replaced and how the replacement process works, call the Mutilated Currency Division at 866-575-2361, or write to Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Office of Currency Standards, Box 37048, Washington, D.C. 20013.

– To replace fused, melted or mutilated coins, contact Superintendent, U.S. Mint, Box 400, Philadelphia, Pa. 19105.

– To replace birth certificates or marriage licenses, contact Department of State Health Services at 512-458-7111 or 888-963-7111 (or for hearing impaired, call 800-735-2989) or go to http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/default.shtm.

– A “Keep It With You” personal medical information form – to be used as a temporary and voluntary personal medical record – can be downloaded Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences Web site at http://fcs.tamu.edu/. Click on Health and go to Family Health and Medical Records or go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/katrina/kiwy.asp.

– Medicare replacement cards can be requested at the Social Security Online Web site: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicarecard/ or by calling 800-772-1213 or visiting the local Social Security office.

– To replace a lost or stolen passport, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section, 1111 19th St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036 or call 202-955-0430.

– To replace damaged, destroyed or missing savings bonds, contact the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Public Debt, Executive Director, Administrative Resource Center, 200 Third St., Avery 5th Floor, Parkersburg, W. Va. 26106-5312, or call 800-245-2804.

– Copies of federal income tax returns can be obtained by contacting the Internal Revenue Service. Request Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. This form is available online at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506.pdf. Complete the form and mail it to the IRS office listed on the form.

– Federal civilian and military records also can be replaced. For replacement of military records, go to http://vetrecs.archives.gov. For civil service records, former federal employees can fax full name, Social Security number, name of agency of employment and dates employed to 314-801-9269. The request should be signed and a fax number or address where the records are to be sent should be included. Current federal employees should contact the Office of Personnel Management at http://www.opm.gov.

Many of these replacement steps include the use of online resources. If personal computers are not available, Granovsky said, public libraries and other agencies may have computers available to the general public.

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