When I began receiving my Social Security payment, I opted for a paper check. I know this sounds silly, but somehow opening that envelope and holding that check in my hand before taking it to the bank was gratifying. However, in a few months I had all of the gratification I needed so I switched to the quicker, easier and safer option of having my payment directly deposited into my checking account.
If you are one of the 5.4 million federal beneficiaries who are currently receiving a paper check, listen up: the Treasury Department is requiring all Social Security, VA, SSI and other federal beneficiaries to receive their benefits electronically starting March 1.
3 Easy Steps
If the thought of electronic payments spikes your blood pressure, don’t worry. According to the Treasury Department, (see their video at http://www.youtube.com/GoDirectUSTreasGov) you can make this transition in three easy steps:
- Decide whether you want direct deposit or the Direct Express debit card. Basically, you can have your money deposited into your bank account or you can have it electronically credited to a debit card (a way to get your money if you don’t have a bank account). Call 1-800-333-1795 for a more comprehensive explanation of these two options.
- Prepare before making the call. You will need your 12 digit federal benefit check number — it would be good to have a benefit check in front of you. If you opt for direct deposit, you will need your bank’s routing number and bank account number (on the bottom of a check).
- Make the switch. You can do so online at www.GoDirect.org or by calling 1-800-333-1795.
If you don’t like government mandated changes, I urge you to be a good sport. Why? Because our government is eliminating some wasteful spending. No, electronic payments (in lieu of sending out 5.4 million paper checks each month) will not make a dent in our national debt, but curbing any government waste is a step in the right direction.