Disasters and Address Changes

When a disaster strikes your family and your home, it is overwhelming. Not only must you deal with the mental and physical after-effects of a catastrophe, but you must also address all of the details necessary to move forward. Among those are a number of companies and government agencies that should be notified if your address changes.

U.S. Postal Service

The Post Office offers several services for people who are temporarily or permanently displaced from their homes. You can temporarily or permanently forward your mail to another address, or you can hold your mail at your local branch for pick up or eventual delivery.

Go to the United States Postal Service Web site for information about your options to forward your mai. Submit a request (with a valid email, address, and credit card number) or print a request to mail or hand deliver to your local Post Office.

You can also ask that the Post Office hold your mail.

If your local Post Office branch is affected by a disaster, obtain updates about service status here.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

If you are eligible for disaster aid or assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), keep them up-to-date with your address. They can be reached by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Recipients

If you receive Social Security benefits and live in the United States you can change your address online or by calling 800-772-1213. Representative payees, Supplemental Security Income recipients and people who reside outside the United States cannot change their address online and should call 800-772-1213 or visit their local Social Security Administration office.

Veterans Administration Benefits Recipients

Call 1-800-827-100 to change your address on your Veterans Adminstration benefits. You may also send a signed letter to the office that holds your records. Only the benefits recipient, or the recipient's legal authority (someone who holds power of attorney), is authorized to make address changes.

Internal Revenue Service

If you expect to receive a tax refund or other correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service, it's important to notify them of your new address. A change of address form can be found online or you can make note of your new address when filing your tax return.

Registered Voters

Registered voters should contact their state election office to change their mailing address.

Insurance Companies, Banks and Other Financial Institutions

It's important to keep your insurance agent, bank and other financial institutions notified of your most current address. Be aware that if your bank or financial institution loses contact with you, your money may be handed over to the state to be held in trust until you're located. If this happens, you can search state databases for your missing account.

Non-U.S. Citizens

Certain non-United States citizens, known as aliens, must notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services within 10 days of an address change. (Diplomats with visa status A, government representatives to international organizations with visa status G and non-immigrants without a visa who are in the US for less than 30 days are not required to notify the government of address changes.)

Noncitizens should complete the change of address form on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services site.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • What if I'm not a citizen and can't complete a change of address form within 10 days of moving?
  • How do I find my money if my bank was destroyed in a disaster?
Related Resources on lawyers.comsm

- What Is FEMA?
- Natural Disaster Insurance Claims
- Natural Disasters articles and information
- Selecting a Good Insurance Lawyer
- Find an Insurance Lawyer in Your Area
- Visit our Insurance Claims message board

Related Web Links

- Address Change Info from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

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