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How To Get Back on Your Feet Financially After a Weather Emergency

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A weather event or disaster may have forced you to leave your home without IDs, money, credit and debit cards, and other documents you need for everyday life. Here are some ideas to help you manage until things get back to normal.

Managing Money

Here are a few ways to make sure you continue to have access to your financial resources.

  • If your credit, ATM, or debit cards are lost or stolen, contact the card issuer as soon as possible to report the loss and get replacements.
  • Stay in contact with your employer. Ask if you can keep getting your paycheck and health insurance, and for how long.
  • Contact agencies and offices where you do business. For example, your retirement benefits administrator, social services office, the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213), the Veterans Benefits Administration (1-800-827-1000), or other benefits office.
  • The Department of Labor (1-866-4-USA-DOL) works with state and local governments to issue unemployment insurance and other assistance for people who are out of work.
  • Find out if your home, health, or other insurance policies will pay for temporary shelter, clothing, and other items.

Managing Credit

Here are a few ways to make sure your credit doesn’t suffer.

  • If you’ve lost your financial records and need help identifying your creditors — or if you want to check on possible tampering with your accounts — get your credit report. It’s free from annualcreditreport.com or 1-877-322-8228.
  • Contact creditors, landlords, and utilities as soon as possible. In times of disaster, they may be willing to defer your payments or offer extended repayment plans, extend grace periods, waive late fees, raise your credit limit, and postpone collection, repossessions, and foreclosures.

Replacing Damaged or Lost Documents

It’s important to replace any legal documents that have been damaged or lost. Here’s a list of where to go for what.

  • Deeds and recorded real estate documents: County’s Recorder of Deeds
  • Mortgages and other credit: Lender or financial company
  • Leases: Landlord or financial company
  • Insurance policies: Insurance company/agent
  • Wills: Your Attorney
  • Checks/Savings documents/Investment materials: Bank, credit union, investment company, or your broker.
  • Car Title/Driver’s License: Secretary of State or Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Birth Certificate: Vital Statistics Office from county where you were born
  • Social Security Card: local Social Security Administration Office
  • Tax Returns: IRS
  • Other important documents, like contracts or divorce judgments: Attorney or the court

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