Replacing Lost Documents

Read this in: Spanish / Español
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid

Information on How to Replace Lost Documents After a Disaster

A disaster often hits without warning.  Important documents can be lost during a disaster.  This can make it difficult to prove who you are or to obtain benefits.  Here are some ways that you can get new copies of these documents.


  • If you need to replace an Iowa driver’s license, you can go to any Department of Transportation (DOT) office in Iowa.
  • This link will help you find an office near you:

  • There is a $10 fee to replace your driver’s license. 
  • You will need to bring papers that prove who you are.
  • This website explains what forms are needed to show who you are:

  • If you lost these forms of identification, you can call the Iowa DOT at (515) 244-8725   
  • If you lost your Iowa driver’s license while living outside the state of Iowa, this website will help you apply for a temporary replacement:


  • If you lost your birth certificate you can apply for a copy online from the Iowa Department of Public Health - Bureau of Health Statistics.  Here is a link to that site:

  • To order a birth certificate in person, find the Bureau of Health Statistics on the first floor of the Lucas office building at: 321 E 12th St, Des Moines, IA 50319.
  • They are open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
  • Bring a valid, government-issued photo identification (like a driver’s license) to prove who you are. 
  • There is a $15 fee you can pay by check or money order. 
  • They can mail it to you within a week.  
  • You might be able to pick it up the next day.
  • County Registrar offices can issue certified copies for all births that occurred 1987 to present.
  • To order a birth certificate by telephone call 1-866-809-0290
  • This line is open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
  • You need a credit card to pay over the phone. 
  • There is an extra fee which starts at $9 to run the credit card and to prove who you are over the phone. 
  • The birth certificate will arrive in the mail in two to three weeks.

To order a birth certificate by mail:

  • First you need to complete the application in front of a notary. 
  • You can look for a notary at your local bank.
  • Then you need to copy your photo identification and place that with the application. 
  • Last, you need to include the $15 payment in the envelope and send it to:
Iowa Department of Health and Human Services
Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building
First Floor, 321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
  • The birth certificate will arrive in the mail in about 4 to 6 weeks.


  • If you lost your Social Security card you can apply for a new one.
  • The application is on this site:

  • You need a photo identification to prove who you are (like a driver’s license or passport). 
  • If you do not have these call your local Social Security office.
  • You can bring the application with your identification to your local Social Security office. 
  • Or, you can mail both forms to your local office. 
  • This website helps you find the Social Security office near you:

  • There is no fee to replace your Social Security card. 
  • A Social Security card can only be replaced 3 times per year. 
  • A person cannot replace their Social Security card more than 10 times total.


  • If you lost your Medicare card you can order a replacement.
  • To order a replacement online, click on this link to sign into your “My Social Security” account:

  • To order a replacement by phone: call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)
  • This line is open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • To order a replacement in person:  go to your local Social Security office. Use this website to find the Social Security office near you:

  • It will take about a month to receive your new card in the mail.


  • If you lost your Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card” you can get a replacement.
  • This website has the I-90 form to replace your “Green Card”: 

  • If you need to replace other government documents visit:

·       Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 

·       To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:

o   call 800-532-1275

o   Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161


o   apply online at

·       If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, you can look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website –   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.

Last Review and Update: Oct 03, 2022
Back to top