Replacing Lost Documents
Ever get ready for a trip or a visit to the hospital and can’t find your papers? Need your birth certificate and it’s nowhere to be found? I hear this so often that we prepared a handy guide for when you can’t find that important paper:
You’ll need this to claim your benefit, pension, and insurance payouts, as well as to prove you’re not from Kenya once you’ve been sworn in as President. What to do if you’ve lost yours? You’ll need the vital records office in the state where you were born (there’s a directory at www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm if you don’t know the number off the top of your head) and you can expect a fee of between $9 and $30 for a new cert.
Social Security & Medicare Cards
You don’t really ever need to show your social security card, outside of occasionally being asked for it at the DMV, but you assuredly need to know the number. If you’ve lost the card, expect to make a trip to your nearest Social Security Administration office. You can save yourself some time by filling out Form SS-5 ahead of time, which you can download at www.socialsecurity.gov (if you live in DC, MI, NE, WA, or WI, you can get your card online, but, we’re in PA).
For the Medicare card, if you have an online Social Security account, you can order a new card under the “Replacement Documents” tab. If you haven’t set up an online Social Security account yet, get started at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. If you need any help with this, you can always call the SSA at 800-772-1213.
If you lose any of these documents, you should start monitoring your credit, as you may become a victim of identity theft. If you lose your passport, however, you need to contact the State Department. You can file a Form DS-64 to get this accomplished, and you’ll receive a couple of emails before your passport is formally entered into the Consular Lost or Stolen database.
If you’re not going anywhere in a while, you can take the slow route and just file for a replacement passport at a Passport Application Acceptance Facility. Usually, your post office or public library will work, but if in doubt, check https://iafdb.travel.state.gov. If you’re leaving in two weeks or less, you’ll need to make a personal appearance at a passport agency or center along with proof, like an airline reservation, that you’re leaving the country within two weeks.