What Happens When Currency Gets Destroyed in a Natural Disaster? - GoldStar ATM

Natural disasters are becoming more prominent around the United States – and the world. Climate change is causing hotter and more destructive fires in the West, hurricanes and floods in the South, and everything in between. These terrible disasters can affect every part of a person’s life. Amidst the aftermath of cleaning up from natural disasters, people often wonder what can they do with cash money that has been destroyed during the natural disaster? 

For this, at least, there is a silver lining.

Bureau of Engraving & Printing

The U.S. Department of Treasury has a subsidiary called the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). The BEP’s function is to print U.S. paper currency, which it does to the tune of billions of dollars each year. 

As part of the services rendered by the BEP, they offer free redemption for individuals and businesses who are in possession of mutilated currency notes. The BEP’s Mutilated Currency Division receives over 22,000 requests per year to examine mutilated currency for possible redemption. These mutilated banknotes have an estimated value of over $35 million dollars.

According to the BEP, “Mutilated currency is currency which has been damaged to the extent that one-half or less of the original note remains, or its condition is such that its value is questionable.  Currency notes can become mutilated in any number of ways.  The most common causes are fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.”

Getting Your Money Back

The BEP will replace mutilated currency to lawful owners when:

  1. Clearly more than 50% of a note identifiable as United States currency is present, along with sufficient remnants of any relevant security feature; or
  2. 50% or less of a note identifiable as United States currency is present and the method of mutilation and supporting evidence demonstrate to the satisfaction of the BEP that the missing portions have been totally destroyed.

This is a welcome relief to thousands of people living in the U.S. who have withstood fires, hurricanes, storms, and earthquakes.

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