Seriously. It seems that FEMA is opting to discontinue their debit card program, though the reason seems to vary depending on who you talk to. It could be that they want to minimize staff, it could be that their "normal methods of delivery will suffice", or it could be that they haven't the foggiest fucking clue what they are doing. I'm betting on the latter, myself.
In the midst of one of the worst failures of bureaucracy in recent memory, the geniuses at FEMA are preparing to attempt to mail relief checks to folks that no longer have an address. Cute, huh? Oh yes, dear reader, people who have only the clothes on their backs, which may or may not include their wallet, will have to be patient for just a few more weeks to receive the money that will enable them to "get on with their lives" (Great job, Brownie, indeed).
Apparently it hasn't occurred to the talented folks at FEMA that not only are the addresses to which those checks will be sent are, or were until recently, under several feet of water, but so are the banks wherein they kept their money and the documents that prove they are who they say they are. Alternatively, when you are scrambling to evade rising flood waters, you may not think to grab your Social Security card, or your ID, making it difficult to trot down to the Atlantis Bank of New Orleans to receive your electronic funds transfer.
This is about to become the Gordian Knot of our times. Thousands of displaced people are going to have to obtain replacements for those various bits of identity that make them real to an official agency. Of course, you also need an address for those things, and it will be incredibly difficult to rent a place with no money or ID, but, Catch-22 seems to be the watchword here, anyway, so why worry about it. Once those minor details have been worked out, though, they have only to submit the claim, wait the necessary time for the claim to processed, and then wait for the money to wing its way unerringly to those in desperate need. After a 10 day wait. That's a much better plan than giving those folks a card that works anywhere, for whatever they need, that you put into their hot little hands when they need it. FEMA continues to work its magic in response to Hurricane Katrina.