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No paper, no plastic: Social Security embraces direct deposit

The practice of payment through direct bank deposits has been saving businesses money for many years' time. Now, in an effort to save funds at every opportunity, the federal Social Security Administration has also moved toward electronic payments for benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security disability, Veterans Affairs, and government pension plans.

While most people receiving Social Security aid of any kind are used to finding colorful, stamped checks in their mail box every month, the push toward direct deposits and prepaid "Direct Express" debit cards for recipients will be a marked change for residents both in Missouri and across all of America. Begun in May 2011, the goal of completely electronic Social Security payment has been set for March of this year.

All new benefits recipients who have either successfully applied or appealed for Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income will only be able to claim their aid electronically. No new checks are being drafted for claimants, and the 7 percent of recipients who continue to get checks in the mail will be more aggressively pressured into electronic payments beginning in March.

Roughly 5 million paper checks continue to be sent in the mail each month, costing the administration $4.6 million each month in printing and mailing expenses that electronic payment would drastically reduce. In the next decade, the Treasury predicts that direct deposit transfers would save $1 billlion.

Another reason for the move to electronic payment is security: 2011 saw over 440,000 paper checks reported as lost or stolen, and $70 million in benefits were fraudulently endorsed by someone other than their proper beneficiary.

Whether applying, appealing, or already receiving Social Security aid, those who have been injured or stricken with an ailment that prevents them from working should prepare to receive their benefits electronically.

Source: CNN Money, "No more paper Social Security checks come March," Melanie Hicken, Jan. 9, 2013

As Social Security policies and practices change, the insight of an experienced attorney becomes increasingly valuable. For more information, visit our Boone County Social Security Disability law page.

1 Comment

I personally think this is a good idea but I have heard that it will cause hardship for people because they need to deposit money before they can get direct deposit started. They also have to redo paperwork to get started. Is this true and if not what are their options?

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