Social Security Announces Phase-Out of Paying Benefits by Paper Checks
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is encouraging a “warp-speed” transition to electronic payments of federal benefits by 2013. A video public service announcement starring George Takei, who played Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series, and actress Patty Duke, who is a mental health advocate, is helping to get out the message . Both stars are involved in a campaign to promote Social Security online services.
In fact, the transition has already started.
All Social Security disability claimants approved for benefits after May 1 will receive their monthly benefit payments through direct deposit or a Direct Express® Debit MasterCard®, says the Social Security Administration (SSA). No paper checks will be issued for new beneficiaries after May.
In an April 27 press release, SSA Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said, “Getting your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income payment by direct deposit or Direct Express is safer and more reliable. You don’t have to worry about your check being lost or stolen and your money is available immediately on your payment date.”
The electronic switch-over will be an efficient and easy method to receive benefits. It will also conserve paper – 12 million pounds of it over five years – and taxpayer dollars. The yearly cost to print checks is $120 million. That’s a big savings for the federal government.
The U.S. Treasury announced all-electronic transactions of federal benefits a year ago and is requiring that everyone currently receiving benefits from the federal government to make their choice for the electronic switch by May, 2013.
Learn more about electronic payments and how to “go direct” at www.GoDirect.org.