The U.S. government is phasing out paper checks for these benefit programs, under a Treasury Department rule finalized Tuesday. The Treasury expects the shift to save Social Security $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Under the final plan, anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, will receive their payments electronically. People who already receive paper checks will need to switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.
The government's new electronic-payment requirement has some exceptions. It has waived, for instance, for check-receiving recipients who are age 90 or older or approaching 90. Specifically, benefit recipients born before May 1, 1921, who would like to keep receiving paper checks will be able to do so under the final rule. In addition, the Treasury is touting its prepaid card, the Direct Express Debit MasterCard, for benefit recipients who don't choose direct deposit. More than 1.5 million beneficiaries have signed up for the card since it was introduced in 2008.
Read about this in the Wall Street Journal online
William Wombacher, Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Attorney