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Hurricane Sandy May Have Delayed Disability Payments for Some


Posted on Nov 18, 2012

Many East Coast residents continue to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Some lost friends and relatives. Many saw their homes or cars destroyed. Two weeks after the storm, tens of thousands of people were still without power, and people were still waiting in line for hours to buy gasoline.

The lack of mail delivery in some affected areas might seem minor by comparison, but for those depending on SSI or SSDI benefits, the delay could have a major effect on their ability to weather the damage caused by the storm.

Although most SSI and SSDI recipients receive their payments electronically, about 43,000 Social Security beneficiaries in Connecticut, 229,000 in New York, and 92,000 in New Jersey still receive paper checks, according to the Social Security Administration. And even though the electronic payments were issued on time, those recipients may have encountered difficulties accessing their money because of the lack of power at ATMs and businesses.

If you or someone you know has not received a disability check because of a lack of mail service—either due to an inaccessible mail route or displacement from home—you may be able to pick up the check at your local post office. You will need to show ID that reflects your normal mailing address. If the post office does not have the check, you can either call 1-800-772-1213 or visit a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to request an emergency payment.

The SSA is shifting to an all-electronic payment delivery system. By March 1, 2013, virtually all Social Security recipients will receive their benefit payments via direct deposit to a bank account, a debit card, or an electronic transfer account. Only retirees who were born before May 1, 1921, will be able to request an exemption from the Treasury Department’s new direct deposit rule.

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