• "I am deeply grateful to the Masonic Village's employees, and will never be able to express my gratitude to all of them." — Catherine L.

  • "I liked my Masonic Charity Foundation charitable gift annuity so much, I opened three more. Why? I might be old-fashioned, but the scriptures have taught me the virtue of looking out for others. Knowing that the funds left in my gift annuities will care for the Masonic Village residents makes me feel wonderful." — Dorothy B.

  • "I am writing to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, just how wonderful the last two years of my mother's life were, thanks to all of you at the Masonic Village at Burlington." — Carol O.

  • "It's not just the Masonic Village's beautiful facilities and the many services that are offered to the residents – most of all, it's the employees. They are personally dedicated it seems to each and every individual here." — Catherine L.

  • "We are equally grateful for the 'loving arms of hospice' that were wrapped around our family in our hour of need." — M.W.

  • "When we decided to come to the Masonic Village at Burlington, we knew it was going to be a very big change in our lives. When we came here, we were very pleased that it was not difficult. We would recommend the Masonic Village highly to a friend." — Joseph and Bertha B.

  • "There is simply no way to express the depth of gratitude I feel for the Masonic Village at Burlington – thank you!" — Jim C.

  • "We know first-hand how very special Acacia Hospice's caregivers are, and we thank every single one of them from the bottom of our hearts." — J.M.

  • "It is with a grateful heart that we extend to you our deepest gratitude for the loving care that Acacia Hospice afforded our beloved Aunt." — M.W.

  • "It has been a source of tremendous relief that my parents were in such caring and professional hands during the final years of their lives." — Jim C.

  • "It takes a very special person to do the job Acacia Hospice's caregivers do every day. We would like you to know we think you have an incredible group of 'Angels.'" — J.M

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Friday April 20, 2018

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How to Replace Vital Documents that are Lost or Stolen

Can you tell me how to go about replacing important lost documents? My wife and I recently downsized and at some point during the move we lost our Social Security and Medicare cards, birth certificates, marriage license and passports.

Replacing important documents that are lost, stolen or damaged is pretty easy if you know where to turn. Here are the replacement resources for each document you mentioned, along with some tips to protect you from identity theft, which can happen if your documents end up in the wrong hands.

Birth certificate: If you were born in the United States, contact the vital records office in the state where you were born. This office will explain what you need to do to order a certified copy and how much it will cost you. Birth certificate fees typically range between $9 and $30.

Social Security card: You can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card for free. Residents of certain states may request a replacement card online at ssa.gov/ssnumber.

If you live in a state that does not permit residents to apply for a new card online, you will need to fill out Form SS-5 and bring it to your local Social Security office, along with your driver's license, state-issued non-driver ID card or U.S. passport (photocopies are not accepted). You may also submit these documents to your local Social Security office by mail. Any documents you mail in will be returned to you. To find the Social Security office that serves your area, call 800-772-1213 or visit ssa.gov/locator.

Be aware that losing your Social Security card puts you at risk for identity theft. If you find that someone has used your Social Security number to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts or other goods and services, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov (or 877-438-4338). The FTC will also give you specific steps you'll need to take to handle this problem.

Medicare card: To replace your Medicare card for free, you can call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office. You can also request one online at ssa.gov/myaccount. Your card should arrive in the mail in about 30 days.

If you lose your Medicare card, you need to watch out for Medicare fraud. Check your Medicare Summary Notice for services you did not receive and, if you spot any, call the Inspector General's fraud hotline at 800-447-8477 to report them.

Marriage certificate: Contact the vital records office in the state where you were married to order a copy. You will need to provide full names for you and your spouse, the date of your wedding and the city or town where the wedding was performed. Fees may range from $10 to $30.

Note: Divorce certificates can also be ordered from states' vital records offices (fees may range from $5 to $30). Divorce decree documents can be obtained from the county clerk's office for the city or county in which the divorce was granted.

Passport: A lost passport also puts you at risk for identity theft, so you will need to report this as soon as possible to the U.S. State Department. Go to travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/lost-stolen.html and fill out Form DS-64. You will receive an email acknowledging that your report was received. Within a couple of days, you will receive another email (or letter, if you request one) confirming that your passport has been entered into the Consular Lost or Stolen Database.

You can apply for a replacement passport at a Passport Application Acceptance Facility. Many post offices, public libraries and local government offices serve as such facilities. You can search for the nearest authorized facility at iafdb.travel.state.gov. The fee for a replacement passport is $135.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published April 13, 2018
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