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I'm trying to help my mother apply for various social services including Medicaid so that we can get her assessed for her increasing memory problems and delusions.


I just got her set up for an in-home assessment. After I let her know what they needed, she informed me that her wallet had been "stolen" (pretty sure lost) with both her driver's license and social security card in it.


She doesn't know where her birth certificate is. When I look at websites for replacing her license (IL) or birth certificate (IN), they are all dependent on having at least one of the other documents.


Has anyone had any luck replacing ALL forms of identification? Or gotten senior services without them? The only good thing is she was able to accurately identify her social security number.

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If her wallet and ID were lost or taken from her outside the home, the first thing you need to do is file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov. You can also call the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338. Then, contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on her credit records (Equifax: 1-888-766-0008). Her birth certificate should be filed in the county clerk's office where she was born. You'll likely have to pay more for an official copy with the county stamp, but that is what you will need to get a duplicate Social Security card for her. Usually have to go in person to a Federal Social Security office for that. I learned all this when my mom's purse was grabbed off a bench in a mall where she had been sitting. I cancelled all of her credit cards and never renewed them. I also took copies of her info, i.e. license, SS card, insurance card, and kept them in my purse for use at her doctor's office, hospital ERs, etc. The originals went into my locked filing cabinet.
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Now that credit freezes and unfreezes are free and fast, I would do that. Fraud alerts simply tell anyone wondering about opening a credit line that there is an alert. They can choose to ignore it. A credit freeze won't give a creditor any information about you. Which most creditors find so offputting to definitely not open a new line of credit. It's more likely to prevent a fraudulent credit line being opened in your name. My credit has been frozen for over a decade. Even before it was fast and free. I think everyone should freeze their credit since it's so easy to unfreeze now. It used to cost a fee and take days. Now it's free and at most takes an hour or two. Most agencies do it instantly.

That only addresses opening new lines in your name. You have to call each credit card company to report a stolen or lost card so that people can't use your existing lines.

Make sure you deal with the bureau that reports on bank accounts too. A lot of people don't think about that. Fraudsters use your ID to open bank accounts. Some did that with my info once. I didn't know for years until I went to open up a new account and I got rejected since they said I had a history of bouncing checks. I was shocked. I've never been late on a payment let alone bounce a check. Turns out someone opened an account using my ID. Took a while to correct. Mostly correct anyways. That's fraudsters fake address is still listed as one of the addresses I lived at. I've never even been in that state.
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I was able to get copies of my mother's documents using my POA, my photo ID, and in a couple of cases my birth certificate (proving I was her daughter).

I have a encrypted flash drive on my key chain with all my important documents (IDs, POAs, custody orders, etc) and I have them in a protected folder on Google drive so I can access them from my smart phone. As a techie, I consider this safer than having the physical documents in my purse. I'm terrible at remembering to place the latest proof of insurance in my car, but the cops accept the photo on my phone as proof the insurance is still current.
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busymom Feb 2019
That is a great idea! I wish I was a techie so I could have figured that out. Perhaps I'll begin a process like that for future use of mine and my husband's important info. Hopefully there is a website that can walk an older, not tech savvy woman though this—at least I know how to Google!
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You should be able to get a certified copy of a birth certificate online, rather painlessly. Your own b/c shows your mother's name so this is a starting-place document to use.
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thepianist Feb 2019
A related point: if you have in-home care of any kind for an elderly person, DO lock up things like SS cards, bank statements, check books, deeds, birth certificates and other important or confidential records. The news is full of wonderful caregivers who end up cheating elders out of thousands of dollars (or more).
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My husband lost his Social Security Card and they wouldn’t replace it because his driver’s license was expired. Someone came to our home, took his picture and sent us a State I.d. Card. Then I was able to replace his SS card. You can also get a birth certificate copy online. It takes a while but it can be done.
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Request a Social Security card replacement...then order birth certificate.
Then go to the DMV and get an ID card...

We have always been asked for ID, so I think it's important.
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First do your own thorough search of her place for those items - I mean in the linen closet, between mattresses, behind furniture, EVERYWHERE - this could help - your mom may balk at this intrusion of her space so can you get someone else to take mom out while you do this

My mom with dementia successfully hid her birth certificate & social insurance card [ same is USA social security] for over 3 years in the NH - I found them long after I had to get them replaced -

When we cleaned out their home we found money in towels, bank statements under the shelf paper in the linen closet & we sent a dresser off to the auctioneer who found a package of 6 $50 bills [kudoos to his honesty] & we thought we had checked it out - if your mom is saying it was stolen then that could be an early sign of dementia where they hide things so they can't be stolen & forget but their mindset is for things to be stolen so when they can't find it then it is stolen

If she was baptized then try there first as that is semi-official & gives you something - I was able to get my mom's by applying to a gov't website - I asked for the 'long form' which has more info on it & while I was at it I also got a copy of her marriage certificate [long form] & my own birth certificate [long form] - these turned out to be handy when both mom & dad passed away as I needed them to complete some of the paperwork at the funeral home as here they now take the deceased person's parents names & where they were born as part of the record

So while you are at it try to get everything maybe a short version for her to have but keep a copy of everything for when not if you need it - you may need your grandparents names & some identify info on them to get those documents
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gdaughter May 2019
God they are creative and clever in spite of dementia aren't they? LOL. Do tell...where in the dresser were the stacks of $50 bills? We're missing wedding rings...both hers and my dads. Always appreciative of a new place to look!
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When I went to the courthouse to file Emergency Guardianship papers, I thought, hey, I'm here, so I'll pick up copies of mthr's birth and marriage certificates for my daughters' American Heritage Girls family project! Little did I realize how convenient they would be later that day when my attorney said we needed to get her an ID from the DMV.

To get the forms, I did have to show my ID, but since I'm her daughter it was not a problem. It was a small fee.

The DMV wanted her SSN and we just had come from her CPA's office and had copies of old tax forms. A 1040 with SSN was allowable as proof of SSN.

When I came up to the examiner with the paperwork and he asked me what we were there for, I naturally said, "For an ID card." The agent practically whispered (and she's giving up her driver license?) and I replied, "Absolutely!" He was truly happy.

Eventually we ordered her a new SS card and changed her address everywhere to a Post Office Box, a very cheap form of finding out what is actually coming to her address. At the end of the year, every bank account and stock should send a tax form of some kind, and we were able to change her address with all of those in hand. She could not lose those documents if she never saw them. Yes, we had POA.
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I think you live too far away from your mother to go to her home, don't you?

The thing is, I think possibly a lot of time and trouble might be saved if someone could go to her home and help look for these things. Even if her wallet had been stolen, it's not like she'd have been carrying her birth certificate around in it; and how did she identify her social security number? - presumably not from memory; and all in all I'd get a strong impression that these documents aren't so much lost as just out of sight, out of mind, and she doesn't know where to begin looking for them. It may well be that they're not at all hard to find.

I understand that you wouldn't want a complete stranger rootling around among her personal papers, but is there anybody trustworthy you could call on to go and have a quick look?
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jacobsonbob Feb 2019
Social Security numbers are used in so many things that it is easy to remember them. When I was in graduate school, test scores were listed next to people's SS numbers (shown in full back in the mid-1970s!). Because the first three digits correlate with locality of birth, those of us who came from a different region of the country could be recognized as being the owner of a number different from most of the others. (For example, one professor claimed he had never seen a SS number that started with a 1 before the class I was in!) Although these numbers are still used quite often, only the last four digits are typically shown.
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This is a good time to remind everyone that you should NEVER carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Put it in a safe place in your home, or a safe deposit box. Make a photocopy to keep in your paper files if you can't remember the number. You need your SSN when you open a bank account, borrow money, and file your taxes. It was not meant to be an identification card.

Ditto with your Medicare card, if it still has your SSN as your Medicare I.D. number.

And while we're at it, simplify the credit cards for your parents. My mother-in-law has ONE credit card, and a debit card for each of her two bank accounts. Would not be difficult to freeze/stop if she were to lose her wallet.
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The real ID has been all over the news for months because of an issue with the CA DMVs failing to obtain the correct verifying documents. I am surprised people are just now hearing about the real ID, it was announced quite a while ago. It certainly won’t be a bad thing, that’s for sure. Those who are home bound or in a facility won’t need one unless they plan to board a plane. I just feel bad for the million people who have to go back to the DMV and go through the process AGAIN because their Real IDs are not federally compliant.
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JoAnn29 Apr 2019
NJ is also behind in getting this done.
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