Hurricane Survivors Urged to File Claims with Social Security

       People affected by Hurricane Katrina or Rita are encouraged to file claims for survivor or disability benefits with Social Security as soon as possible.

        Survivor benefits from a worker who died may be payable, and people with disabilities that prevent them from working for a year or more may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on their work record.  For others with limited income and resources who are disabled or over age 65, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) also provides a monthly income.  Both programs are operated by Social Security and the application can be initiated the same way.

        Filing for benefits for people affected by the hurricane is simplified with special procedures in place that recognize medical records may be missing or lost, and normal methods of establishing survivor eligibility have been disrupted.

        People who want to file a claim with Social Security can go to the nearest Social Security office or call the toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. 

        Many of the tasks that used to require a visit to an office can now be accomplished by a single telephone call.  Changes of address, retirement, initial disability application, and claims for survivor benefits from a worker who died can all be done over the telephone.

        “We’ve been working since the beginning of Hurricane Katrina to provide service where they are,” said Regional Commissioner Ramona Schuenemeyer.  “I want people to know how deeply we feel the loss of loved ones, as well as the disruption of the community.”

        More information about Social Security programs and applications is available at the web site –