SSI payments going paperlessPeople who still receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments by paper check have until March 1 to select a new electronic form of payment.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
People who still receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments by paper check have until March 1 to select a new electronic form of payment.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced last week that Social Security and SSI recipients are encouraged to either have those funds directly deposited in their bank or credit union accounts, or receive the funds on Direct Express Master Card debit cards.
Those who don’t choose by March 1 will receive the debit cards.
Treasury Department spokesperson Tepriska Morgan said Friday that most people who receive these federal payments have switched to either direct deposit or the debit card.
“It has gotten a lot better,” she said.
Morgan said nationally there are still about 5 million people who haven’t made the switch from the paper check. This means about 93 percent of the people who receive Social Security or SSI payments are doing so through direct deposit or the debit card.
The push for electronic payments is not just about saving money.
“In 2011 440,000 of these checks were lost,” she said. “That same year $70 million of those checks were fraudulently signed.”
Cost savings are another reason. By stopping the use of paper checks the department will save $1 billion over the next 10 years, Morgan said.
The U.S. Department of Treasury established the “GoDirect” program in 2011 to guide people through the switch from paper checks to an electronic payment.
According to information from the GoDirect program, North Dakota ranks 50th out of all of the United States, including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, for the number of paper checks issued per month for Social Security and SSI monthly payments. As of November 2012, 7,928 Social Security or SSI recipients in North Dakota were receiving payment by paper check. Wyoming is 52 with 6,313 paper checks, and Alaska is 51 with 7,213.
For more information about how to make the switch, go to http://www.godirect.org.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454
or by email at email@example.com