Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fires, Floods and the “Vicissitudes of Life”

''We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life''...Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It was true 73 years ago and as this week’s devastating fires in Southern California remind us, it’s still true today. But whether it’s destructive flames on the West coast or devastating floods in the Gulf coast, we’ve seen just how quickly life’s circumstances can take a turn. One of the great untold stories during these times of national crisis is the Social Security success story.

8,700 Social Security checks have already been sent to residents in Southern California. Unfortunately, some of those checks will arrive even though residents have evacuated and their homes have been destroyed. But staff at the local Social Security offices will coordinate efforts to get those checks to California seniors, the disabled and their families who will need them. In its seven-decade history, Social Security has never missed a payment and it won’t this month either.

National tragedies like the California fires also remind us what a critical link SSA offices provide to a vulnerable population. But these offices have faced limited budgets forcing closures, low staffing and huge disability hearing backlogs. We’ve written to Congress urging support of increased funding for SSA administration.

In the wake of this disaster, the Social Security Administration is reminding beneficiaries to use direct deposit. It’s a simple process to enroll either directly with SSA or through the Treasury Department’s GoDirect campaign. As disaster victims in the Gulf coast and now those in Southern California have found, direct deposit allows Social Security beneficiaries access to their funds immediately without worrying if they even have a mailbox left or not.

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