Replacing Lost Documents

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab

Replacing Lost Documents


Legal disaster survivors may need to find out how to replace documents that are lost or damaged as part of a disaster event. Learn how to replace lost documents by finding the document you need below. Disaster survivors often need to access important documents and identification to get benefits and other assistance after a disaster. 

How to Replace Lost Documents

Call 800-ASK-USPS (275-8777) for general assistance. If you suspect you have been targeted by mail fraud, identity theft involving the U.S. mail system, or theft or destruction of your mail, you can call 1-877-876-2455 for mail-related crimes. 

Many lost records or bank cards can be replaced by visiting your local bank branch. If your bank has been destroyed or there are no local branches in operation, contact your bank’s customer service department. Some customer service numbers for frequently used banks are listed below.

If your bank is not listed below, the FDIC maintains a directory of contact information for FDIC-insured banks. Click here to find your banking institution's information. To file a complaint against or your bank or for additional information, visit

Find your bank's customer service information:


Contact your benefits program for instructions on how to replace your benefits card. Benefits are given out monthly on a benefit card. 

Contact the local county records office where you were born or adopted for instructions on how to obtain a copy of your birth certificate. 


If you find that your credit cards were lost or left behind, your best option is to call the bank that issued the card and get a new one as soon as possible. If you expect to have any issues with missed or late payments or spending limits, you should address them with your credit card issuer as promptly as possible. The issuer may have programs or policies in place to ease the burden on customers facing emergency situations.

When personal documents and credit cards are unsecured, you should be on guard against identity theft. One step you can take is to place a fraud alert on your credit report, which will make it harder for criminals to open accounts in your name. To do this, you should contact one of the three major credit bureaus, each listed below. Each bureau is required to notify the other two when a fraud alert is listed. The fraud alert is free and lasts for one year. You can find more information about credit freezes and fraud here.

Immunization information is available only to persons authorized by law to see it. Only doctors, schools, childcare centers, and public health providers. Statewide immunization registry 

These records are maintained by the clerk of court for the parish where the property is located. If the deed or mortgage was filed for record, a copy can be obtained from the parish district clerk. Many records can be obtained online from the parish clerk website. 

If you want to replace a lost or stolen Louisiana driver's license or identification card or change the address listed on your card you can go online or visit any Louisiana Driver's License office and submit a completed application. You must have proof of citizenship or legal residency and two forms of ID. 


To learn more about updating your state I.D. or driver's license visit the resource below: 

If you are a permanent resident who needs to replace your Green Card, or a conditional resident who needs to replace your two-year card, you may apply for a replacement card by filing a USCIS Form I-90 (form and instructions available at, online filing available at For further assistance, visit card/after-green-card-granted/replace-green-card.

If you need to replace a Naturalization Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, or Repatriation Certificate, you may apply for a replacement at If you wish to apply by mail, you will need to complete and submit Form N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (form and instructions available here: and pay a $345 filing fee. You will also need to provide two passport-style photos and submit additional documents as specified on Form N-565.


To learn more about updating your immigration documents visit the resource below:

To replace lost or destroyed insurance documents, contact your insurance agency. For information regarding flood insurance issued by the National Flood Insurance Program, see

To replace a Medicare card, visit the Social Security Administration office or request a replacement through your online my Social Security portal by logging in or creating an account at Additional information available at and You may also call the National Social Security Hotline at 1-800-772-1213.


To learn more about updating your health insurance documents visit the resource below:

If your passport is lost, you should report it lost by going online to the U.S. State Department website at and submitting a DS-64 form. You may also send a completed and signed DS-64 form by mail to the address on the form or call 1-877- 487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793) to report it lost.

You cannot replace a lost passport by mail or online but must fill out a DS-11 form and make an appointment to apply in person at a passport agency or center. You must bring original documentation of proof of citizenship, such as an original birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID. To obtain more information regarding the replacement of a lost passport, go to

To learn more about updating your U.S. Passport visit the resource below: 

To replace a lost, stolen, or destroyed Social Security Card, visit or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (TTY number: 1- 800-325-0778). You can also visit your nearest Social Security Administration office to request a replacement card. Find the nearest location at

If you suspect that your Social Security Number is being used to commit fraud, or if you receive a suspicious call from someone purporting to be the Social Security Administration, contact the Office of the Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report online at

If you have a problem with your Social Security payment, go to the nearest office of the Social Security Administration, call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778), or visit Most issues can be handled through your my Social Security portal online (log in or create an account at If you do not receive your regularly scheduled payment from Social Security as a result of severe weather or other emergencies, you can obtain emergency payments if necessary. For more information, log on to Social Security checks can also be direct deposited or put on an SSA-issued credit card (the US DirectExpress card). To replace your DirectExpress card, call 1 (888) 741-1115 or visit

To learn more about updating your social security information visit the resource below: 

You can order a copy of your past tax returns online using the “Get Your Tax Record” tool at Just click the “Get Transcript by Mail” button to have a paper copy sent to your address of record. You can also order by phone at 800-908-9946 or by mail by completing and mailing either Form 4506, Form 4506-T, or Form 4506-T-EZ. Form 4506-T can also be used to request other tax records, such as tax account transcripts, records of account, wage and income, and verification of non- filing. For more information or to download the appropriate forms, visit

If you have lost your W-2, 1099, or K-1, you should first contact your employer for a replacement. If you are unable to obtain a replacement from your employer, you can contact the IRS at 800-829-1040. You’ll need the following when you call:

  1. Your name, address, Social Security number, and phone number;

  2. Your employer’s name, address, and phone number;

  3. The dates you worked for the employer; and

  4. An estimate of the amount of wages you were paid and federal income tax withheld, if any. If possible, you can use your final pay stub to figure these amounts.

In Louisiana, if you have lost your original will, you should execute a new will. This is true even if you have a copy of the original will, because Louisiana law imposes many burdens on those trying to file for a succession with a lost original will. If there are no originals or copies, then a new will must be executed. As a practical matter, even if you have your original will, it may be necessary to draft a new will dude to dramatic change in property value/ownership due to a disaster. Certain gifts in the will may fail if property has been destroyed, or the prior will may not adequately deal with insurance proceeds as a replacement for specific gifts. 

Click here to request a replacement vehicle registration in Louisiana. This form may be submitted online if your local OMV location is closed due to disaster. 



Contact the National Archives and Records Administration by phone at 866-272-6272 or online at to request a replacement. 

To learn more about updating your military or veterans records visit the resource below: 

Disaster Documents Checklist

Collect these items in advance in case you must leave your home because of a flood, hurricane, or other disaster. Keep them safe and with you in a waterproof container.

Driver’s license, passport, photo ID, green card, visa, etc.; recent photos of you and your family.

Medications, current prescription bottles, inhalers, oxygen, shot records, blood type cards, eyeglasses, etc. for you and your family. Make a list of medication needs and doctors for each of you. Keep with the medications.

Deed, lease, recent utility bill to prove your address so that you can apply for benefits. These also may be needed so that you can return to your home if law enforcement blocks entry to the disaster area.

Life, medical, vehicle, tenant, homeowner and other property insurance policies; medical, Medicaid, Medicare cards for you and your family.

Birth certificates, adoption papers, child custody documents, orders of protection, divorce decrees, wills, powers of attorney, etc.

Cash; credit, debit and ATM cards; checkbooks, bank books, account documents; deeds and leases; mortgage and other loan documents. Remember, ATM machines will not work and electronic transfers will not be possible if there is no electricity. You will need cash.

Tag your pets. Prescriptions, shot records, pet photos.

Cell phones and chargers, address and phone books to contact family and friends. Keep phones fully charged.

List of your bills (with account numbers) and mailing address for each.

Keys, recent pay stub, Social Security card, veteran’s or military ID, food stamp and other benefit eligibility documents, etc.

Whether you own or rent, take photos before the flood or other disaster of all areas, inside and outside, of your home and property, including basement, garage, barns, outbuildings, yard, etc.

Family photos and precious items that cannot be replaced.

Last Review and Update: Sep 12, 2022
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