Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit New York, forcing some to evacuate and leaving many without power. It also briefly halted mail service. For many, no mail for a few days no big deal, but for the thousands of people who still receive Social Security disability benefits checks by mail, it may have posed a real problem.
As some of our readers may know, the Social Security Administration has started making the transition to electronic payments. And while many people have started using this form of payment, the administration says 229,000 people in the state of New York still receive retirement and disability checks by mail.
While many mail carriers were back up and running by the time benefits came on Nov. 2, some places were not safe for them to go. In those cases, mail was brought back to the nearest post office, where residents could stop by to pick up mail. However, that could still pose some difficulties for those whose disabilities limit their mobility.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, some suggest that converting paper checks to electronic payments for disability benefits may be a good way to avoid undelivered checks in the future. Currently, only 6 percent of Social Security recipients still get paid with paper checks. And while the SSA has said it will make some exceptions, for the most part, everyone will be moved to electronic payments by March 1 of next year, so it may be worth starting to think about making the transition for those who haven't already. For help converting to electronic payments, it may be helpful to visit the Social Security Administration's website or your nearest Social Security office.
Source: Reuters, "Sandy leaves some Social Security recipients high and dry," Mark Miller, Nov. 5, 2012