The U.S. Department of Treasury recently announced a new rule that will change the way federal benefit recipients are given their payments.
Now, instead of receiving paper checks, people will receive their Social Security disability payment electronically, and will need to make the change to the new system by March 1, 2013.
The new rule applies to people currently receiving benefits under the following:
- Veterans Affairs
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security
- Railroad Retirement Board
- Office of Personnel Management
- Department of Labor (Black Lung)
New Social Security Benefits Payment System
Anyone who has applied for federal benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will automatically start to receive their payment electronically. Anyone who currently receives their payment by paper check will be required to switch to the electronic system by March 1, 2013.
Federal benefit recipients will be given two options in which to receive their payment electronically. They can chose to have the money put into a bank or credit union account by direct deposit, or they can chose to have the funds deposited to a Direct Express Debit MasterCard account. This card does not require the recipient to have a bank account, nor do they have to undergo a credit check before they are given the card. The card does not charge sign-up, monthly account, or overdraft fees. The money in the account is also insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The card is similar to an ATM card.
Millions of Americans depend on the federal benefits they receive in order to make ends meet. This new system implemented by the Treasury will offer benefit recipients an easy, reliable, and convenient way of getting the payment they need. No longer will they need to wait for the mail for their check to arrive—instead, benefits will be immediately paid into their specified account on their specific payment date. The paperless system also gives people assurance that their benefits check will not be stolen or lost.
Additionally, the electronic payment system will save millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money every year. It is estimated that the paper checks had cost American taxpayers $120 million annually, and the new paperless system is expected to save $1 billion over the next 10 years. Paying benefit recipients electronically will also help save the environment by eliminating the need for 12 million pounds of paper in just the first five years the new system is implemented.
Making Sure You Receive Your Social Security Benefits
Change is never easy, and anyone currently receiving federal benefits may be confused and have questions about their payment. If any uncertainties arise regarding Social Security benefit payments, it may be in a person’s best interest to consult with a highly skilled lawyer with experience handling Social Security benefit cases.