The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is encouraging victims of
Hurricanes Harvey or Irma who may have Federal Reserve notes that have
been damaged by flood waters to send that currency to be reviewed for
possible redemption as soon as they are able.
The BEP said in a Sept. 14 press release that it is giving priority
to processing mutilated paper currency claims resulting from the
hurricanes to speed recovery efforts for those affected. Flood victims
submitting a claim should mark HURRICANE on the outside of the package.
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BEP’s Mutilated Currency Division reviews mutilated currency (but
not coins) that is damaged to the extent that its value is
questionable. This may occur as a result of fire, water, chemicals,
ground deterioration, or other physical means. This is a free, public
service that processes approximately 30,000 claims annually.
“We firmly stand with everyone affected in Texas, Florida, and the
surrounding areas that experienced such devastation,” said BEP
Director Len Olijar. “BEP prides itself on serving our customers and
we will do whatever it takes to lessen the impact of these disasters.”
For information about how to submit a claim for review, visit BEP’s
website, or contact the Mutilated Currency
Division by email at email@example.com or toll free at (866) 575-2361.
The instructions for submitting a mutilated currency claim are
detailed and specific. Normally, more than half of the note must
remain identifiable as U.S. currency, and if not, says the BEP, the
method of mutilation and supporting evidence must demonstrate to the
satisfaction of BEP that the missing parts were totally destroyed.
The currency can be delivered in person to the BEP in Washington or
sent by mail. In either case, fragments should not be disturbed and
packed carefully in plastic or cotton. If the money was damaged in a
container such as a purse, box, or wallet, the money should be left
where it was and sent intact. It should not be rolled, taped, glued,
or otherwise altered. However, if it was in a roll when damaged, it
should be left that way. Resolution of claims usually takes from six
month to three years, depending on the complexity of the review.
The Federal Reserve Bank Financial Services division offers guidance
and an interesting YouTube video for financial institutions about
packing and depositing currency contaminated by blood, sewage, tear
gas, and mold at its website,
https://www.frbservices.org/fedcash/index.html. There is a separate
set of procedures for currency that has been exposed to viruses and
bacteria, or what the Federal Reserve calls a “bio-terrorist agent.”