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Replacing Lost Documents

Disaster Relief

This resource lists government agencies that can help you get replacement copies of important documents, including birth certificates, property titles, marriage licenses, and others.

Although this compilation was written with disasters in mind, it contains information on replacing lost documents, which may be useful anytime. 

Will I have to pay to replace lost, important documents?

Some entities will waive fees for replacing lost documents or cards if the loss or damage was due to a disaster. Some creditors will waive late fees, extend payment deadlines, and make other payment accommodations if the reason for the delayed payment is a disaster. Just ask if you need a fee waiver or more time to pay bills.

Marriage License or Divorce Decree

Contact thecounty clerk (marriage) or district clerk (divorce) in the county or district in which it was obtained.

To locate a Texas County or District Clerk: County and District Clerks, Local Registrars, and Remote Access Issuance Listings

Copies are often priced by the page, and copy costs may vary by county.

Certified copies typically cost at least $1 a page.

Marriage or Divorce Verification Letter

The Vital Statistics Unit of the Texas Department of State Health Services can issue a letter verifying whether a Texas marriage or divorce was recorded, based on information reported to Vital Statistics by the county or district clerk. 

Depending on your needs, verification letters might not be adequate substitutes for marriage licenses or divorce decrees. Check in advance to see if a verification letter will satisfy your intended use. Visit Texas.gov Vital Records Application to learn how to request these verification letters. 

Texas Driver's License or Identity Card

You must be ready to confirm personal information (date of birth, social security number, or documents verifying social security number). Bring these documents with you. But, verification of your social security number is not required for identification cards. The agency responsible for driver's licenses and identity cards in Texas is the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The steps:

  1. Apply in person at any driver's license office.
  2. Bring the completed application (form DL-43) (also available at any driver's license office)
  3. Pay the required fee.
  4. Provide documents to verify identity (for example, unexpired passports, marriage licenses, birth certificates, etc.).
  5. Provide lawful presence documents (non-U.S. citizens).

See also:

 

Passports

The U.S. Department of State issues passports. Use these forms.

  • Form DS-11 (Application for a U.S. Passport)
  • Form DS-64 (Statement Regarding a Valid Lost or Stolen U.S. Passport Book and/or Card)

If you are in the United States and are not traveling within two weeks, submit Forms DS-11 and DS-64 in person at an authorized Passport Application Acceptance FacilityVisit Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page​ to search for office nearest you by zip code.

Green Card (Proof of Lawful Permanent Resident Status)

The ​​U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issues green cards. ​​If you are a permanent resident who needs to replace your green card or a conditional resident who needs to replace your two-year green card you may begin the application process for a replacement green card by: 

Social Security Card

The Social Security Administration issues social security cards. You cannot replace your social security card online. You must go to an office in person. You might be able to do it by mail.

To locate the nearest office, go to the Social Security Office Locator.

  1. Show the required documents. The documents required depend on your citizenship status and the type of card requested. See Learn What Documents You Need
  2. Complete and print the Application for a Social Security Card.
  3. Take or mail your application and documents to your local Social Security office.
  4. See Social Security Number and Card for more instructions.

Medicaid and Texas Benefits Cards

The Texas Health and Human Services Department issues Medicaid and Texas Benefits cards.  Visit Learn How Your Texas Benefits Can Help You.

For quick proof of Medicaid eligibility, HHSC staff can generate a Form 1027-A - Temporary Medicaid Eligibility Verification. You must apply for a temporary form in person at an HHSC benefits office. Call 2-1-1 to find the nearest office

For a replacement card, you will need proof of coverage. A provider can verify a patient’s eligibility for Medicaid by checking the provider website; by calling 800-925-9126, or by visiting TexMedConnect on the TMHP website. 

Medicare Replacement Card

The ​​Social Security Administration issues replacement Medicaid cards.

  • ​​Online: Login or set up an account at https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do. Select “Replacement Documents” tab, then “Mail my replacement Medicare Card.” Medicare card will arrive by mail in about 30 days at the address on file with Social Security.
  • In person: Contact your local Social Security office.​
  • By phone: Call 800-772-1213, TTY 800-325-0778 weekdays 7 a.m.–7 p.m. 

Income Tax Returns - Copies

The Internal Revenue Service will waive fees and expedite the request for exact copies of tax returns for taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area. Use Form 4506. You can get exact copies with attachments (including Form W-2).

If you are not in a federally declared disaster area, the IRS requires a $50 fee for each return requested and it can take up to 75 business days to process.

On jointly filed tax returns, both spouses may request a copy, and only one signature is required.
 

Transcript of Tax Returns

​​A transcript of your tax return will satisfy most requests, and it’s free. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can generate different kinds of transcripts depending on what you need them for.​ Call the IRS at 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.​ Or, go to Get Transcript on www.IRS.gov.​ Forms are available on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-908-9946). ​

Savings Bonds

Replacement bonds are no longer issued in paper form; they come in electronic format only. You can either accept payment for lost bonds or order electronic replacements. To request a replacement savings bond from the United States Treasury, use FS Form 1048. You will need to provide the bond serial number. If you don’t have the serial number, provide the specific month and year of purchase; your social security number; your name (include middle names or initials; and your mailing address., along with your completed Form 1048. Take the completed form to your financial institution to sign and certify your signature. Then mail the completed form to Treasury Retail Securities Site, P.O. Box 214, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214.

Military Service Records

To gather military service records, click on the National Archives Veterans' Service Records website. You can complete and submit Form SF-180 to make a request pertaining to military records. Examples of military records you may need include separation documentspersonnel records, and medical records. You can also request records online through eVetRecs.

Credit Cards

There are two steps for replacing lost credit cards:

  1. Contact the bank that issued the card, and
  2. Get a list of your accounts.

Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).

Getting your credit report helps you gather account and creditor information to report the loss. Reviewing the report also helps you ensure that the information on your credit reports is correct, and protect against identity theft. Order free credit reports online at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

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