Social Security to stop checks

Published 12:04 am Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Social Security Administration is going green with the announcement that paper Social Security checks will soon be a thing of the past.

Instead, beginning March 1, 2013, the government agency will issue all monthly payments via direct deposit.

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced a new rule that will phase out paper checks for Federal benefit and non-tax payments in two years.

Those receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board benefits, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other non-tax payments are included.

“Here is how the transition will work,” said Kylle’ D. McKinney, Social Security public affairs specialist in Montgomery. “Anyone applying for Social Security or SSI benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper checks will need to switch to electronic payments by March 1, 2013.

“Anyone already receiving their benefit payments electronically will continue to receive their payment as usual on their payment day,” he said.

For the 11,864 Covington County residents receiving Social Security benefits and others nationwide, there are two payment options available – direct deposit to a bank or credit union account of their choice or a deposit into a Treasury-recommended prepaid card option, called Direct Express Debit MasterCard card account.

“For most people getting monthly benefits, this won’t really be a change,” McKinney said. “Already 8 out of 10 beneficiaries receive payments electronically.”

He said there are many reasons for the push for electronic payments instead of checks.

“It’s safer. There’s no risk of checks being lost or stolen,” he said. “It’s easy and reliable. There’s no need to wait for the mail or go to the bank to cash a check. It saves taxpayers money, because there’s no cost for postage and paper and printing, and it saves (the recipient) money, because there’s no check-cashing fees or bank fees.”

It also is good for the environment, saving paper and eliminating transportation costs, he said.

“If you still get your check in the mail, you don’t need to wait for the new rule to go into effect to enjoy the benefits of electronic payments,” he said. “Please visit today and begin getting your Social Security and SSI payments the safe, easy, inexpensive and green way — electronically.”