Remembrances on Patriot Day

September 11, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

A flag flies at half-mastThe September 11 terrorist attack on the United States will always evoke a special emotion in me as an American, a New Yorker and a Social Security employee. On this day, we honor the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center, in Pennsylvania and in the Pentagon. We also salute the courageous men and women dedicated to the rescue efforts. This incomprehensible event changed us all.

Fourteen years have passed since we collectively experienced the turmoil and grief of September 11. That day was difficult and emotional and we each experienced it in a very personal way.  For those Social Security employees working in Manhattan at 26 Federal Plaza who heard the first jet, felt its shock wave, saw both towers ablaze and then evacuated under extreme conditions, the memory is indelible. So, too, for the New York Disability Determination Service (DDS) employees who worked in the shadow of the World Trade Center and escaped from the blaze and the rubble of collapsing buildings.

While we were all attempting to regain our equilibrium from that day, Social Security employees around the country made special efforts to help. We showed our strength and compassion and the value of both public service and Social Security. Through our efforts, over 5,000 individuals applied for survivors and disability benefits. The Agency’s response at such a critical moment in our nation’s history was truly uplifting. Many of the survivors of those who perished had their first Social Security payment on October 3, 2001. Our Social Security programs were essential to their well-being, reminding us that Social Security is more than a retirement program.

As I reflect on the events of September 11, I am justly proud of how Social Security employees responded to those events.  Regional office, field office, program service center and teleservice center staff all worked tirelessly to reach out to the families of the victims and overcome the challenges that this tragedy presented to the agency and to us individually. I’m sure that all of us — whether we worked in Lower Manhattan or at the centers on Pier 94, Liberty State Park and DC, whether we took claims from family members by telephone or in person, or worked to ensure that 15,000 individuals whose disability files remained at 22 Cortlandt Street (the location of the DDS) were not disadvantaged or whether we assisted law enforcement efforts — will  always remember those experiences. We persevered and showed our indomitable spirit, and experienced an amazing outpouring of hope and healing as we moved forward.

Looking back at my own experiences with the families of the victims of September 11, I realize that time will never diminish the force of the stories they told. The stories were in their eyes and faces and in the pictures of the victims all around us.  I will never forget these families: a young man in his mid-20s who lost his wife of two years, had a 6-month old child at home and could never stop crying; the father of a policeman and fireman who lost both sons in their efforts to rescue people at the World Trade Center; two little boys (aged 3 and 5) playing with their father’s identification card while their grandfather applied for Social Security benefits; the pregnant mother with three children and no idea of how the family would financially survive. I cannot forget them.

Despite the highly charged environment of the days that followed, all of us at Social Security pulled together to provide support to those who lost family members and loved ones. It will always remind me that we are one family with amazing resiliency and that we will always come together to help those in their time of need.

Today, New York City is a strong, dynamic city. It has lifted itself and is moving forward. We see this by visiting the September 11 Memorial Museum and Freedom Tower. The streets of downtown Manhattan are filled with people. There is a hum in the air and an incredible energy.

As we pause for a moment of silence to remember those we lost on September 11, fourteen years ago, we should not forget those families Social Security helped, nor all the children who are now teenagers and young adults.


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About the Author

Beatrice Disman, Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of Social Security and former Regional Commissioner of the New York Region

Beatrice Disman, Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of Social Security and former Regional Commissioner of the New York Region


  1. Tanisha D.

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  2. cat h.

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  3. In T.

  4. en u.

    Is there any other information about this subject in other languages?

    • Ray F.

      For Social Security information in other languages, please visit our Multilanguage Gateway web page.

  5. Topgun10

    God’s greatest gift to mankind and the angels only was FREE WILL. God can not interfere and take it back as it was a gift. And where was God on 9/11 when innocent people died? He was in the same place as He was when His beloved Son, Jesus died a horrible, cruel, death on the cross. His blood paid for our sins, however, we still have free will to choose good or evil. Make good choices.

  6. Hospitals &.

    RE: Health and Welfare. 10th Ed. Hospitals & Asylums. HA-7-9-15

    I began receiving SSDI about a month before the 9-11 attacks when I had been investigating an Arab owned interstate juvenile psychiatric institution detaining a legally non-Jewish child wanted by her poor Christian mother and transferring her from an 18 to 21 year state, when she went to live with her Mom. Maybe Congress isn’t the worst government to write, but it might be. The Clerk did think to take note of the totally losing case of attempted suicide and successful war. I guess Carolyn Colvin is still the Acting Commissioner, although SSA seems to recognize at least a Presidential appointment. What could compare to St. Valentine’s day as a matter of law? These days enacting laws is entirely based upon totally abolishing the Democratic-Republican (DR) two party system before any biological life-form could agree. The FICA tax rate however is predicated upon the precise amendment of statute regarding taxes, and can be argued to not involve the imposition of any taxes calling for representation. The cooperation of the IRS and employers is however necessary to express FICA tax rates to the public for educational reasons that might ultimately require a 2% UN tax so employees see what 1% is. Disability consumes 2.3% of our income, not 1.8% of our time. I need to express the gout Congress imposes on the future solvency of the DI trust fund, if I am to not take another of sip of the beer that disagrees so badly with metronidazole the bartender thought to card me. It however might be unwise to engage so many people without Congressionally enacted statute. There is no denying that the Commissioner must get her Actuary, Commissioner and Treasurer (ACT) together to avoid being held responsible for depleting the DI Trust Fund. She must do the math herself, or swallow the best the disabled have to provide, and bill OASI in the tried and true, but extremely difficult and time consuming, tax rate reallocation dating from Oct. 1 by executive fiat, pending Congressional approval and tax evasion charges on January 1 regarding the abolition of the maximum taxable limit that promises to balance the federal budget if SSA can work with HA, who is tenured by disability insurance, and the OMB Director. On that point we are trying to teach an old Actuary the even older OASDI tax reallocation trick and everyone, meaning the Commissioner, must check, or temporarily agree with the the tax reallocation math of this particularly disability beneficiary, before the Actuary takes responsibility for their pain the OASDI tax calculation in the next Annual report that must explain this national enrichment by HA at the expense of the disabled and provide the Treasury with estimates. Notwithstanding any highly mathematical religious tests of our national accountants, the Commissioner has permission to make a secondary transmission of this Act and supporting book that is not really being submitted for Congressional destruction of Title 24 Chapter 3 at this time, but is available, to the President of the United States and OMB Director Shaun Donovan for submitting to Congress the –

    Social Security Amendment of 2016

    Free Disability Insurance Reallocation Tax (DIRT) Act

    To immediately amend the DI tax rate from 1.80% to 2.30%, from 0.90% to 1.15% for employees and from 0.90% to 1.15% for employers under Sec. 201(b)(1)(S) of the Social Security Act 42USC(7)II§401 and amend the OASI tax rate from 10.60% to 10.10%, from 5.30% to 5.05% for employees under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3101 (a) and from 5.30% to 5.05% for employers under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3111 (a) to avoid depletion of the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund in 2016 without increasing the overall 12.4% OASDI or 15.3% OASDI and Hospital Insurance (HI) tax-rate under 26USC(A)(2)§1401 beginning October 1, 2015.

    To amend the DI tax rate again in 2018 to 2.20% from 2.30%, from 1.15% to 1.10% for employees and from 1.15% to 1.10% for employers under Sec. 201(b)(1)(S) of the Social Security Act 42USC(7)II§401 and amend the OASI tax rate from 10.10% to 10.20%, from 5.05% to 5.10% for employees under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3101 (a) and from 5.05% to 5.10% for employers under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3111 (a) without increasing the overall 12.4% OASDI or 15.3% OASDI and Hospital Insurance (HI) tax-rate under 26USC(A)(2)§1401 to maximize efficiency until a deficit appears in the OASI Trust Fund in 2019.

    Without Income Limit Law (WILL) Act

    To abolish the maximum taxable limit on DI contributions on January 1, 2016 and OASI contributions January 1, 2017 and repeal Adjustment of the contribution and benefit base Section 230 of the Social Security Act 42USC(7)§430.

    To require the Social Security Administration to pay for SSI Costs beginning January 1, 2017.

    To share profits in excess of social security program costs to the general fund of the U.S Treasury on a sliding scale beginning year end 2016 DI 50/50 with the USPS, and OASI 10/90 to eliminate the federal budget deficit. In 2020 OASI would share at negotiated rates an estimated 25/75, by 2025 OASDI would share 50/50 and by 2030 OASDI would save to pay for the peak in costs of Baby Boomer generation in 2035 that might raise the overall OASDI tax rate from 12.4%.

  7. John W.

    Civilians were victims in this 9/11/01 tragic event. God bless those who seek balance in future relationships with foreign powers and let the military protect our soil. What a comeback America made as it usually does.

  8. b l.

    It was nice reading your honor and remembering
    9/11/2001as for some of the reply I read I just shake my head
    And say Amen, Sweet Jesus

  9. JONAS G.

    Just as I knew would happen. “comments awaiting moderation” but I do not care. By now, enough folk have read it. And if they possess any grey matter at all, they will be thinking about what they read. And since I will not be around to watch you all suffer under Sharia doctrine, I cannot begin to tell you how much I don’t care. Have a nice weekend..!

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