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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2011 > Direct Deposit: theft protection for your federal benefit payments

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Direct Deposit: theft protection for your federal benefit payments

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service

Just months after the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced it is retiring paper checks for federal benefit payments and going all-electronic by March 1, 2013, the use of direct deposit is on the upswing – including in the Midwest.

Currently, 88 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in the Midwest are made electronically. While that number is up from 85 percent seven months ago, residents of these states still rely on nearly 1.78 million Social Security paper check payments each month, putting their money at risk of theft or fraud.

“Just last year, more than 540,000 Social Security and SSI paper checks were reported lost or stolen and had to be reissued, while an estimated $93 million worth of Treasury-issued checks were fraudulently endorsed,” says David A. Lebryk, Commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service. “When you consider the numbers, direct deposit is the safest option available to people.”

If you are about to apply for federal benefits, you will receive your payments electronically from day one. If you already receive federal benefit payments by check, you must switch to an electronic payment method by March 1, 2013.

Switch to direct deposit or to the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card through the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center online at or toll-free at 800-333-1795.


Switch to direct deposit - U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center
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