Households without mail service will be able to pick up Social Security checks beginning Thursday at open post offices nearby, the United States Postal Service said.
Where regular mail service has resumed, those checks will be delivered as usual. Other mail will not be available at post office branches for households without normal mail delivery.
Mail service has been restored to broad swaths of the region, spokespeople said, but road obstructions and utility outages make some areas inaccessible. People in Philadelphia can go to their local post office to pick up their checks, spokeswoman Cathy Yarosky said.
"However, customers should call their local Post Office first, during normal business hours, to make sure their Social Security check is there before venturing out of their home," Philadelphia Postmaster Howard Sample said in a press release.
In South Jersey, mail delivery attempts are being made, spokesman Ray Daiutolo Sr. said. Some post offices are running on generator power and without phone service, Daiutolo said, but are still open.
Households in South Jersey areas unreachable for mail delivery will have their Social Security and other federal assistance checks available at local post offices or alternative locations, Daiutolo said, depending on the status of particular areas and offices.
Areas with normal mail delivery resumed will continue to receive those checks at their home, Daiutolo said, and those decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis.
"We may be able to deliver mail in Atlantic City, but we don't want to be carrying people's Social Security checks out on the street and then get to an address that we can't deliver mail to," he said.
People without mail delivery should call their local post office branch to check whether it is open and has their checks. Alternate locations may have residents' checks if their local branches cannot open. Other mail will not be available.
Mail delivery is being attempted even in areas that are evacuated, Daiutolo said, but the agency doesn't want to get in the way of other recovery efforts.
"We are considered an essential service, but at the same time we don't want to be an obstacle to the people who are trying to do things in those areas," Daiutolo said. "We're going to do everything we can without interfering with the local utilities and services in that area."
A photo ID will be required to pick up Social Security and other federal government-issued checks at post office branches.