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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > May 2011 > Federal benefits to be paid electronically

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Federal benefits to be paid electronically


The U.S. Department of the Treasury now requires all federal benefit and nontax payments to be paid electronically.

People applying for Social Security, Veterans benefits or other federal benefits on or after May 1, 2011 will receive their payments electronically starting with their first payment. People currently receiving federal benefit checks will need to switch to an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013.

Those who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or those who do not switch by the deadline will receive their benefit payments via the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card, so they will not experience any interruption in payment. People who are already receiving benefit payments electronically do not need to take action. They will continue to receive their payment as usual on the payment day.

Having federal benefits paid electronically by direct deposit into the bank or credit union account of one’s choice or into a Direct Express® card account is safer, faster and more reliable than receiving paper benefit checks. In 2010, more than 540,000 Treasury-issued checks were reported lost or stolen, and had to be reissued.

With direct deposit, the Treasury Department sends an electronic message to one’s bank or credit union account on the usual payment day with the exact amount of the benefit payment from Social Security, VA or other federal agency. People don’t have to worry about their money being stolen out of their mailbox and there’s no need to make a trip to cash or deposit a check. Plus, it’s better for the environment and saves taxpayer dollars.

Source: Go Direct, an education campaign of the U.S. Treasury


Go Direct campaign, U.S. Treasury

Benefits information, U.S. Treasury

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