By Lisa Hoffman June 10, 2011 Scripps Howard News Service
Federal benefits go fully to direct deposit
By Richard Ryman May 1, 2011 Green Bay Press Gazette
Fed begins phase-out of paper checks
By Karen Jowers April 29, 2011 Air Force Times
People newly applying for federal benefits as of that date must choose an electronic payment option at the time they sign up for benefits - and paper checks will no longer be an option. This applies, for example, to disability payments, GI Bill payments and other benefits through the Veterans Affairs Department, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income. In recent years, more people have been moving to electronic payments, which are safer and more convenient. Electronic payments now make up more than 75 percent of all noncash payments nationwide.
Without a computer, what's a taxpayer to do these days?
By Brent Hunsberger April 17, 2011 The Oregonian
Direct Deposit now required for federal benefits
April 1, 2011 My Federal Retirement
The U.S. Department of Treasury has made changes affecting the way you will receive your retirement benefits payments. Everyone will be required to change to direct deposit or receive a debit card (if you do not have a bank account).
Treasury Retiring Benefit Checks
By Kathie Bassett May 9, 2011 The Telegraph
"I already chose the electronic option quite a while ago and love it - wouldn't have it any other way," Amanda Watson said in a post on The Telegraph's Facebook page. "I personally never had a problem with the paper checks myself, but my great-grandmother's was either lost or stolen in the mail one time, and it was a huge hassle to get another issued." The move is projected to save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years. People currently receiving federal benefits via paper check must switch to some form of direct deposit by March 1, 2013. In Illinois, more than 754,000 baby boomers are expected to reach retirement age over the next five years. Current federal benefit recipients in the state rely on nearly 292,000 Social Security or Supplemental Security income paper check payments each month. All groups who will be affected - including senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans and other groups - will be receiving information with their check payments and also will be reached through public service announcements, Harrington explained. She further emphasized that residents should see little if any impact in local offices. "The applicant still has the option of going into a service center to apply for direct deposit or direct express if they don't have access to or they don't have the capability of using the Internet," Harrington said. People also will have the option to receive their payments on a prepaid debit card, a Direct Express Debit MasterCard card. Benefits will be credited directly on the scheduled day of payment, making it unnecessary for recipients to have an account at a financial institution.
Paper social security checks set to cash out
By Andrew M. Seder April 28, 2011 The Times Leader
"More than 18 million baby boomers are expected to reach retirement age during the next five years, with 10,000 people a day becoming eligible for Social Security benefits," said Rios. "It costs 92 cents more to issue a payment by paper check than by direct deposit. We are retiring the Social Security paper check option in favor of electronic payments because it is the right thing to do for benefit recipients and American taxpayers alike." About 11 million people nationwide already receive federal benefits by paper checks. In Pennsylvania, 810,000 baby boomers are expected to reach retirement age over the next five years. Current federal benefit recipients in the state rely on 391,000 Social Security or Supplemental Security Income paper check payments each month, according to Walt Henderson, the director of the Treasury Department's Electronic Funds Transfer division. Last year, more than 540,000 Social Security and Supplemental Security Income paper checks were reported lost or stolen and had to be replaced. For those who haven't made the switch, the treasurer requires recipients to have an electronic account, usually a checking account, at financial institutions capable of receiving direct deposits.
Social Security ends paper checks
By Emily Brandon April 27, 2011 US News
As of May 1, anyone applying for federal benefits will need an electronic payment method. Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios today highlighted the savings to taxpayers by ceremonially writing a check to American taxpayers in the amount of $1 billion. "More than 18 million baby boomers are expected to reach retirement age during the next five years, with 10,000 people a day becoming eligible for Social Security benefits," said Treasurer Rios. "It costs 92 cents more to issue a payment by paper check than by direct deposit. We are retiring the Social Security paper check option in favor of electronic payments because it is the right thing to do for benefit recipients and American taxpayers alike." Last year alone, more than 540,000 Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) paper checks were reported lost or stolen and had to be replaced. Among federal benefit recipients, approximately eight in 10 already receive their Social Security or other federal benefit payment electronically.
Plan to switch federal benefits to direct deposit gets exceptions
By Christine Dugas December 24, 2010 USA Today
The plan released by The Treasury Department in June said federal benefits will no longer be sent using paper checks. It raised concerns amongst consumer advocates. The initial proposal did not provide any exceptions to the changes, but were strongly urged to do so. The Treasury Dept. decided to include exceptions for those age 90 or older, mentally impaired people, and recipients in very remote areas.
Direct-deposit Social Security benefits need protection from payday lenders
By Michelle Singletary July 29, 2010 The Washington Post
The National Consumer Law Center to keep the Treasury Department to prevent banks from being able to benefit from people's direct deposited Social Security benefit checks to settle payday loans. When annualized, these fees can often add up to triple-digit interest rates or more.
The check is (not) in the mail
By Tim Grant July 8, 2010 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
7 Things you need to know about social security debit cards
By Emily Brandon June 11, 2008 US News
7 things everyone "needs to know" about Social Security debit cards; the alternative to direct deposit for those without bank accounts
Social Security and You by Tom Margenau
"What part of Estimate Don't You Understand" Creators.com
Better Business Bureau
"You Can Choose Direct Deposit for Federal Benefit Payments" December 5, 2005