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U.S. Treasurer Kicks off One-Year Countdown to All-Electronic Social Security Payments - Media Alert
U.S. Treasurer Kicks off One-Year Countdown to All-Electronic Social Security Payments
Encourages remaining check recipients to switch now to the safety and convenience of electronic payments and help save taxpayers $1 billion
Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios today started an official countdown clock at an event in Washington, D.C., marking one year until the March 1, 2013 deadline when all federal benefit recipients must receive their Social Security and other federal benefit payments electronically. Treasurer Rios urged remaining federal benefit check recipients to switch now and help taxpayers save $1 billion over 10 years.
The Treasury Department published a final rule in December 2010 to eliminate paper checks for federal benefit payments. Since May 1, 2011, all people newly applying for federal benefits, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (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® Debit MasterCard® card at the time they sign up for their benefits. March 1, 2013 is the final deadline by which all remaining federal benefit check recipients must receive their money electronically.
HOW TO SWITCH FROM PAPER TO ELECTRONIC PAYMENT
Switching from checks to electronic payments is fast, easy and free at www.GoDirect.org, by calling the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-333-1795, or by speaking with a bank or credit union representative.
If check recipients wish to direct their money into a bank or credit union account, they will want to have the following information on hand:
People who prefer receiving their payments on a prepaid debit card or who do not have an account at a financial institution can receive a Direct Express® Debit MasterCard®. For more information, visit www.GoDirect.org.
Currently, about 90 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are being made electronically.
For the first time in recent history, the number of monthly paper check payments for Social Security, Veterans Affairs and other federal benefits has dropped to approximately 7 million – down from a high of 11 million in 2010.
The switch to electronic payments means taxpayer savings will total $1 billion over 10 years. It costs 92 cents more to issue a payment by paper check than by direct deposit.
Electronic payments are safer than paper checks. In 2010, more than 540,000 Social Security paper checks were reported lost or stolen and had to be replaced – while $70 million worth of Treasury-issued checks were fraudulently endorsed in 2011.
All federal benefit check recipients will receive information with their March check payment about how to easily make the switch ahead of the deadline.
Historic photos, graphic elements – including an embeddable countdown clock – key numbers and additional information are available for download at: www.GoDirect.org/media/countdown.
The Go Direct® campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Direct Express® logo, Go Direct® and Direct Express® are registered service marks, and the Go Direct(sm) logo is a service mark, of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service. The Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card is issued by Comerica Bank, pursuant to a license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.
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