Government Program Replaces Mutilated Cash

Just because your dog mistakes a $100 bill for a chew toy, it doesn’t mean you’re out the cash. You can just take what’s left of your mangled paper and send it to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Mutilated Currency Division, which will issue you a check for the amount you otherwise would have lost.

The Baltimore Sun profiles the little-known government organization, revealing it comes to the aid of those who unwisely try to dry wet money in the microwave or buried cash underground in 1999, fearful of a Y2K apocalypse.

Don’t expect a quick turnaround, though. It can take as long as 20 months for an examiner to complete its investigation of your mutilated money.

The article tells how to go about getting your cash replaced:

Mail the remains of paper money along with a letter on how it was destroyed to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing at MCD/OFM, BEPA, Room 344A, P.O. Box 37048, Washington, D.C. 20013. Send it via registered mail, return receipt requested. Make sure it’s packaged in a way to prevent further deterioration.

Coins that have been damaged can be sent to the Superintendent, U.S. Mint, P.O. Box 400, Philadelphia, Pa. 19105.

Dog ate your C-note? Uncle Sam might be able to help [The Baltimore Sun]


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  1. J Dig says:

    I wonder what the minimum requirements of this would be…(condition, percentage remaining, number per year/per person, etc).

    Whats stopping someone from ripping 1/3 of a bill off of every piece of currency and then sending it in for a replacement?

    • Frankz says:

      serial numbers

      • J Dig says:

        But if the serial number is still visible I can just take it to my bank.

        I’m assuming this agency is for bills where the serial number is not visible? Otherwise, what is the benefit especially given the 20 month wait time?

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I also suspect the penalty would far outweigh any potential gain. I can imagine the punishment for defrauding the federal government, while using the US Postal System would be very severe.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I was always told that the rules are either a legible serial number, or it must have “more than 50% remaining.”

    • pantheonoutcast says:
    • notovny says:

      As I recall when I first heard about this a couple decades ago, you get the full amount for more than 3/5 of the bill, and half for sending in between 2/5 and 3/5 of the bill.

      I suppose you could try to cut the bill at exactly the 60% mark, though it might be a bit suspicious.

    • Turcicus says:

      I believe it has to be more than 50 percent. They have a little template they use where they can put the pieces of a single bill back together like a puzzle. If it covers more than 50 percent, it can be replaced. There’s a limit to the damage that can happen and still allow a bill to be replaced, though. Don’t put a bill through a crosscut shredder and expect to get your money back. FYI, all my info comes from a story on Reading Rainbow (or another PBS kids show) about this from a loooong time ago. ;)

  2. fantomesq says:

    This isn’t new… I remember hearing about this when I toured the Bureau of Printing and Engraving as a kid.

  3. full.tang.halo says:

    You have to have at least 51% of the bill to get it “replaced”.

  4. Jason Litka says:

    Why can’t you just go to the bank? Every bank I’ve ever used will give you a new bill if you can provide 51% of a damaged note, doesn’t matter how many pieces it happens to be in.

    • noinamg says:

      but where do you think the bank sends it too (or one of the FED branches if it is so bad they can’t deal with it)?

    • TheDude06 says:

      this service is for when you cant prove you have 51% of the note. imagine…. a bag full of cash, soaked in water, and left to rot for 6 months

  5. fantomesq says:
  6. Frankz says:

    This has been around for decades and decades. Why is it just drawing attention now?

    Here’s the BEP page about it, telling how they do it, with a video showing how:

    and how to make a claim:

  7. full.tang.halo says:

    Stupid post not going into “J Dig’s” response tree.

    Best story about the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Mutilated Currency Division was one that seemed to be told every year in elementary school. A farmer’s wallet was eaten by a cow, he slaughtered the cow and sent the bloody stomach to them with a note asking them to find as much $$$ as they could, not a job I’d wanna do….

  8. kidincredible says:

    So I can send them all the quarters I left on the train tracks?

  9. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I handle my mutilated cash by sandwiching the offending bill between two perfectly good ones and thrusting them towards a cashier while whispering a small wish in my head that they just shut up and take it.

    Sorry, cashiers. Fret not, for my karma is very bad.

  10. smo0 says:

    You can also turn the bills into banks.. as long as they aren’t “too far gone.” They send it in bulk to this agency… I’ve turned in some damaged bills at my local bank in the past.

  11. Kevin says:

    “It can take as long as 20 months for an examiner to complete its investigation of your mutilated money.”

    Spending thousands of dollars to make sure replacing a $20 bill is necessary. Another prime example of government efficiency!

    • shaner55418 says:

      Yeah, once congress hears about this, they are going to require a copy of your tax returns along with the bill. People making less than $20,000 will get a $100 bill back for every $20 they send to replace. People making over $250,000 will not only lose that $20, they will be charged $100 for the trouble!

    • CookiePuss says:

      Someone should just start a private company like Cash4gold. Maybe call it Coins4Cash. They could send you a nickel for every beat up dollar you send in. Profit!

  12. roothorick says:

    Most banks will happily do this for you, for free, usually with the requirement that you have an existing account there to put the money in. We regularly find torn bills in the validators from when the bill jams and the customer tries to get their money back, or more likely, they’re trying to secretly pass the torn buck onto us through the machine. Since we actually get the $1/$10/$20/whatever, we’re happy to oblige :)

    • goodfellow_puck says:

      Every docu I’ve ever seen on this process (I’ve seen about three different ones at this point) show the examiners dealing with tiny pieces, or molded money, or money stuck together…basically stuff your bank would not be equipped to deal with in terms of figuring out what to deposit for you.

  13. AllanG54 says:

    What….nobody here wrote that they make their own money at home?

  14. Captain Packrat says:

    Is there someone who can replace damaged USPS stamps?