In just a few short weeks, the government plans to stop issuing paper checks to all Social Security beneficiaries, including people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income.
As of March 1, the federal government expects to send all payments for Social Security and other benefits electronically through direct deposit or on a debit card.
With less than a month remaining until the deadline, however, nearly 5 million Americans — including 1.2 million SSI beneficiaries — have yet to move away from paper checks, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Though payments are not expected to stop for those who don’t change their payment method, holdouts can expect an extra nudge soon, officials said.
“They will still get a paper check, but they will be hearing from us in a more personal way,” said Brad Benson of the Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service.
The move to electronic-only payments has been in the works for some time. Since May 2011, all new federal beneficiaries have been required to choose either direct deposit or debit card payments.
Eliminating paper checks is expected to save Uncle Sam more than $1 billion over 10 years, according to the Treasury Department.
Social Security beneficiaries can opt to receive electronic payments by going online or by calling 800-333-1795.