“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.”…Social Security Administration Katrina volunteer

When Hurricane Katrina hit landfall the early morning of August 29, 2005, Americans watched in terror as levees breached, thousands of people died in floods and hundreds of thousands of people in in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama lost their homes.  Katrina was yet another reminder just how quickly life’s circumstances can take a turn. One of the great untold stories during these times of national crisis is the Social Security success story. 

“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 Matters, SSA Blog

Nearly 200 thousand Americans in Gulf Coast states hit by Katrina receive Social Security. Just as it did after September 11th, Social Security once again provided vital support needed by Americans in a time of crisis.  It’s the insurance workers support throughout their working lives to protect their families in good times and bad…fulfilling its legacy described by President Roosevelt 80 years ago. 

“We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family.”… President Franklin Delano Roosevelt