Ten Years Since Hurricane Katrina

A makeshift Social Security office is open in the aftermath of the destructionTen years have passed since Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm more than 400 miles across and with sustained winds of 100-140 miles an hour, made landfall.  The storm devastated the coastal regions of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.

“We are public servants first.  No one hesitated to volunteer.  Everyone just started doing what they could to help those in need.  That’s what Social Security is about.  It’s who we are.”

Katrina’s surge overwhelmed protective levees near New Orleans, and the resulting floodwaters covered almost 80 percent of the city.

Many New Orleans residents evacuated ahead of the hurricane hoping for the best. Those that remained in the city fled to nearby shelters. Rescue teams worked hard to reach others who were trapped and unable to reach safety. A lack of cell phone service and other basic communications infrastructure made staying in contact with loved ones difficult. In the chaos, family members began desperate searches to find missing relatives.

As one of the first organizations to respond to the crisis, the Social Security Administration (SSA), began organizing immediately to meet the needs of those who couldn’t access their benefit check, those who lost their identification documents, or those who tragically lost a loved one in the storm.

SSA transported 171 volunteer employees from across the nation to join those employees who were still serving the public despite many having lost everything in the storm themselves.

SSA quickly established six portable offices in southern Louisiana, in addition to mobile support units charged with providing direct service to those housed in shelters.  Many New Orleans residents were bussed out of the most affected areas of the city to Houston’s Astrodome, where they had access to a variety of government services, including an onsite Social Security office.

Offices from Dallas to Houston, across Louisiana, and Arkansas opened early, closed late, and remained open over the weekend. Social Security employees worked extended hours in the first few weeks after Katrina, as they ensured those who needed service received it.  SSA employees sent hundreds of care packages to those in shelters and brought toys, coloring books, and clothing to distribute to those visiting Social Security’s offices.

Social Security employees are dedicated to serving the public, whether the storm is an unprecedented hurricane or one of the many storms of life.  As one staff member put it, “We are public servants first.  No one hesitated to volunteer.  Everyone just started doing what they could to help those in need.  That’s what Social Security is about.  It’s who we are.”


20 thoughts on “Ten Years Since Hurricane Katrina

  1. Was very disappointed that you failed to mention the Gulf Coast and the victims. Was raised on the Gulf Coast and personally saw the death and destruction from Bay St Louis to Biloxi. New Orleans wasn’t the only place affected!!!!!

    • Barbara Starr, I completely agree. I would add that Mississippi and Alabama lacked media coverage because there was no looting or race baiter so in either state.

    • Barbara,
      I absolutely agree with you. Hurricane Katrina battered the coastal regions of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. In fact, in the first paragraph I acknowledge these areas as being “devastated” by the storm.
      Thank you for your response.

  2. President Bush evidently did something right. Social Security is a Federal Agency. I am glad to finally hear something positive that “the government” did under his leadership rather than criticism. How could FEMA have been any better prepared for this catastrophe without having purchasing, stored, and updated a gigantic inventory of mobile homes which would be completely ridiculous. There were several Federal agencies that were there promptly and assisting greatly in the New Orleans area under President Bush’s leadership. I do agree with one of the comments above – Mississippi and Alabama were kicked to the curb. But only because the media covered the New Orleans area the way they did.

  3. I have no comant Becose I live in Pakistan and we ,me and my 19years old Son wantas to live in USA .and I have no relatives there.I not working there .My Son not Steady there .What can I do to permenant residence in Amiraca?

    • First, you need a skill/profession where and how you can support yourself and family. Second, learn English where you communicate with other Americans. Third, apply for a visa and then apply for legal citizenship if you still want to be an America. Stay out of trouble and not be a parasite to our society..

  4. A disaster much worse than Katrina will hit every American if the National Debt continues to rise!
    It is well over $18,000,000,000,000 now and goes up Billions Every Day!!

  5. I am happy to hear that you “were” there; especially in the Astrodome; useful??
    I went to Arkansas a month after the displaced were housed in camps throughout the state. Social Security was not very helpful at that point. Yet there were over 7,000 displaced persons who still needed aid of all types. I was a paraprofessional social worker, at the time, and I spent hours and hours dealing with Federal Agencies like yours in order to assist these persons who lost everything.
    Shame on you for promoting yourself as doing soo much.

  6. I am glad you were there for the people in Louisiana and the Gulf. Louisiana is the birthplace of Eli Manning and he was there too giving out water bottles, food, and essentials to storm victims. Chapeau!

  7. The National Media and others continue to talk about Katrina and the impact on New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina hit The Mississippi Gulf Coast , hundreds of miles from New Orleans. The New Orleans tragedy resulted from the Lake Pontchartrain Surge from the indirect winds from Katrina and the failure of the Levees because of inadequate monitoring and maintenance by the several government agencies and the local leadership.

  8. The difference between new orleans and mississippi after the storm was the news coverage. Also alot of Mississippi residents didn’t even have a house to go home to. Flooded or not. Nothing was left. 10 years later it is a shame that my town is ignored again and again. Very frustrating the lack of knowledge of people who ignore the coast. Plus the residents here didn’t have time to scream we need help. We all were too busy helping neighbors, our community and strangers with the devastation. Hard work. No water. Lost my job. No electricity for 2 weeks. Home repairs. Parents home repairs. Salvation army help. Volunteers. Mold. Roads destroyed. Bridges destroyed. No grocery stores open. Etc. Etc. Memories after 10 years seem like yesterday and it leaves a pit in my stomach that all people care about is nnola. MS coast….strong and proud of our hard work!!!!!

  9. Thanks for the rain. I hope it was enough to put out the willow forest fire that had sickened the community. I just wish the secrecy regarding rain (cloud seeding) and the politics of climate change didn’t come at such a high cost in Microsoft Offices. Its not like cloud seeding around a forest fire is doing anything wrong like using those hydrocarbon heat pumps to increase the force of Hurricane Katrina or the Bush propaganda of FEMA these days. I guess we all have dreams about using the new hydrocarbon cooling pump to cool the waters off Florida below 80 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent hurricane formation but without the protection of a free press cite the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change for its negligence of the 1982 Law of the Sea. Not only did I spring a leek and was crippled but my data and my Microsoft Office, has been temporarily or permanently lost, without which, http://www.title24uscode.org/haw.htm is not up to the challenge of Disaster Insurance. Just fine Microsoft another $5 million for their continuing unrefreshable theft of trade secrets and pass 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%.

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  11. Can you give me some clue as to why the file and suspend rule was eliminated behind closed doors in the middle of the night without any forewarning or consideration for those ready to retire. I would have used it in July but I guess those that invest the pool of SS money are morons and decided they would need my money to make it solvent.

    • Pat, Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees. Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment – the purchase of U.S. Government securities – is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest. Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

  12. I would like to know why even though small the cost of living raise starts?Seems my wife ,hers went up by $4.50 a month last two months while my ss didn’t change at all.

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