Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Super Storm Sandy Leaves Some Social Security Benefits Recipients Waiting

The last few days of October have not been so good to the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut due to the arrival of super storm Sandy.

Aside from devastating infrastructures and homes of thousands of families in the said states, Sandy also left hundreds of thousands of social security disability benefit recipients waiting due to disrupted mail service.

Usually, social security benefits payments are being sent every third day of the month. However, this month of November, the payments were sent on the second day since the third day fell on a Saturday.

Unfortunately, the said day is also the same day when the U.S. Postal Service was struggling, trying to restore service on the areas affected by the super storm. Therefore, a significant number of recipients who are still relying on paper checks have not yet received their disability benefit payments, while those who have switched to electronic payments have already received their due benefits.

Accordingly, there are 92,000 retirement and disability benefit recipients who still receive their payments in paper checks via U.S. Postal Service, with around 43,000 in Connecticut and some 229,000 in New York.

In locations that could not be reached safely for delivery, mails are being returned to the nearest local post offices so that recipients can pick up their checks at those offices any time they are available. However, claimants are required to bring identifications that will reveal the same address that is on the check.

Also, recipients who have not yet received their checks can visit any local social security offices to request an immediate payment. During such emergencies, the agency can issue a payment on the spot.

In some local offices that have been closed due to the storm, recipients are advised to call the agency’s toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 or to visit its website

In addition, for the recipients’ convenience, the agency also posted a list of closed local offices in its website at which was said to be updated every hour.  

Meanwhile, since the agency advised recipients to switch to electronic payments a while ago, a Los Angeles long term disability lawyer here likewise suggested that it is absolutely a good idea if all recipients would consider the said mode of payment to avoid encountering similar problems in the future.