Disability, General Questions, History, Medicare, Survivors

Ten Years Since Hurricane Katrina

August 27, 2015 • By

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.”


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Sarah Schultz-Lackey, Regional Communications Director, Dallas

Sarah Schultz-Lackey, Regional Communications Director, Dallas

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  1. Hospitals & Asylums

    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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  2. Paul Thomas

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  3. mike hildebrant

    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.

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  4. pat

    when will the billions of dollars missing from ss be returned????????????

    Reply
    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      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.

      Reply
  5. Phil Lefler

    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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