Can You Spend Ripped, Burned or Damaged Cash?
What is damaged / mutilated currency and what can you do with it?
Damaged and/or mutilated currency is paper money that has been damaged in some way. I don’t mean faded and a little soft from being put through the washing machine in your jeans pocket. These are dollar bills that have been ripped, burned, or even partially digested. The money may have been recovered from a fire or even eaten by the family pet. The possibilities are endless.
So now you have this bill or bills that you can’t spend. So what can you do with them? Let’s say you have only part of a $100 dollar bill because it’s been partially burned away. If you have more than 50% of the bill, you can exchange it for a replacement. (Fifty percent typically means that you have one full serial number and a portion of the other one.) You can’t just exchange it at your local bank branch. You will have to either mail it or take it personally to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC. If you mail it, you will need to take the necessary precautions for insuring your mail arrives (ask for insurance options at your local post office or special delivery services). If you go in person, you will need to check the specific hours that you can do this and bring identification.
If you have less than half of the dollar bill left, you may still be able to exchange it. The treasury will consider your claim if you have other documentation to support your loss.