Today is the deadline for all consumers who currently receive their social security and other federal benefits via check to make the transition to direct deposit. The Department of Treasury is requiring this switch as a cost-cutting measure and to hopefully provide added protection for the consumer from identity theft. According to the Treasury Department more than 540,000 Social Security and Supplemental Security Income checks were stolen in the year 2010 alone.
There are two ways you can receive your benefits: direct deposit or prepaid debit card. To make the switch, you can “sign up online at www.GoDirect.org or call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. You can also switch at your bank or credit union (for direct deposit only) or at your local federal benefit agency office.”
You will need to have your most recent federal benefit check at hand as you will need to know the amount of the check and the 12-digit federal benefit check number (upper right corner of the check). If you would like to receive your payments directly into your bank account by direct deposit, you will also need your account number and routing number. If you are not sure where those numbers are located, you may want to contact your bank to get them.
According to the Treasury Department, the prepaid debit card is called Direct Express and is usable wherever MasterCard is accepted. For more information about the card, how it works and any fees that may be involved, you may want to visit http://www.usdirectexpress.com/edcfdtclient/docs/faq.html.
If you do not choose an electronic payment option by the end of the day today, you may receive your payments via the Direct Express card.
The Treasury Department states it “will grant exceptions to the rule only in rare circumstances;” however, individuals born prior to May 1, 1921 will be granted automatic waivers. To apply for a waiver, call 800-333-1795.