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WASHINGTON – Starting Sept. 2, the Social Security Administration made it easier to get checks even though the United States Postal Service (USPS) has suspended mail service in some areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina. USPS is establishing temporary mail delivery stations for recipients to pick up their Social Security check. If persons are not able to go to a temporary mail delivery station, they can go to any open Social Security office and request an immediate payment. Ten temporary sites in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were open over the Labor Day weekend to accommodate those who receive checks. To help prevent identity fraud, USPS asked for a photo ID. For those who receive checks through direct deposit, the agency said they will still be deposited in their accounts as usual. However, if a credit union or bank has been impacted by Katrina and recipients can not gain access, they go to any open Social Security office and request an immediate payment. Starting on Sept. 8, the SSA said unclaimed checks will be forwarded, if a forwarding address is on file. Those that cannot be forwarded will be returned to the Social Security Administration. For residents of Louisiana ZIP Codes not included in these lists, checks will be delivered as usual. Efforts are also underway to establish a postal presence at the Houston Astrodome for evacuated Louisiana residents, the SSA said.

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