Time Running Out for Seniors to Meet March 1 Social Security Electronic Payment
Treasury Department urges remaining paper
check recipients to make the switch now to direct deposit or a prepaid
card - see video
March 1, 2013
Jan. 8, 2013 Senior citizens still
receiving their Social Security benefits by paper check must take action
soon - March 1 is the final deadline by which all remaining federal
benefit check recipients must receive their money electronically. That
is the date the electronic payment law goes into effect.
The U.S. Treasury reports that 5 million
checks continue to be mailed to federal beneficiaries each month. The
Treasury is urging Social Security and other federal benefit recipients
to not delay and switch now to either direct deposit or the Direct
Express Debit MasterCard card.
"Choosing direct deposit or the Direct
Express card makes it easier, safer and more convenient for
beneficiaries to receive their payments. Switching to an electronic
payment is not optional it's the law," said David Lebryk ,
commissioner of the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service.
"If you or a loved one still receive
paper checks for your benefit payments, now is the time to switch. It's
free and easy just call 1-800-333-1795 or visit
Currently, approximately 93 percent of
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are
being made electronically. Converting the remaining paper check
recipients to electronic payments will save American taxpayers $1
billion over the next 10 years.
The Treasury Department published a final
rule in December 2010 to gradually phase out paper checks for federal
benefit payments. Since May 1, 2011, all people newly applying for
federal benefits, including Social Security, SSI, Veterans Affairs,
Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and
other non-tax payments, have had to choose direct deposit or the Direct
Express card at the time they sign up for their benefits.
The Treasury Department's Go Direct
public education campaign is working with more than 1,800 partner
organizations throughout the country to spread the message about the
electronic payment rule and educate federal benefit recipients about
their options. The campaign has developed and shared a variety of public
service announcements, educational videos, check inserts and other
materials to explain how electronic payments work and how to make the
switch from paper checks.
"The Treasury Department has taken great
strides to support and guide check recipients through the change to
electronic payments, and we're increasing our efforts significantly in
the final two months before the deadline," Lebryk said.
"We have a team of friendly, helpful
agents standing by at our call center, and many financial institutions,
caregivers, senior services providers and advocates for people who are
homeless or have disabilities have the necessary information and
resources to help federal benefit recipients make the switch."
Switch to electronic payments now before
time runs out
Check recipients can sign up for direct
deposit or the Direct Expressฎ card by calling toll-free 1-800-333-1795,
talking to their local federal paying agency office. The process is
fast, easy and free.
▪ By taking a few minutes to gather
the necessary information ahead of time, most federal benefit recipients
can sign up for electronic payments with one phone call.
▪ Individuals will need their Social
Security number or claim number, their 12-digital federal benefit check
number and the amount of their most recent federal benefit check. If
choosing direct deposit, recipients also will need their financial
institution's routing transit number, (often found on a personal check)
account number and account type (checking or saving).
▪ There are no sign-up fees or monthly
fees to receive benefits electronically.
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