Paper Social Security Checks Stop After February 2013

If you receive your monthly Social Security check in the mail, you have only until the end of February to sign up for electronic deposit. If you don’t sign up for electronic deposit you will receive your March Social Security benefit via the Social Security Administration’s Direct Express® card program to avoid an interruption in payment.

Setting up direct deposit to a checking account, savings account, or any other bank account is quick and easy. You can also split the payment into different accounts like a checking account and savings account. Most checking accounts these days have a very low interest rate so if you do save some of your monthly payment, you can earn a better rate on a savings account. The best savings rates are around 1.00 percent, which are almost as high as the highest 12 month CD rates right now.

If you have been hesitant about receiving your monthly benefit via direct deposit in the past you, there is no need to worry. There’s no risk of a payment being lost or stolen. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, when Direct Deposit first became available to Social Security beneficiaries in 1976, not one payment has ever been lost. You will no longer need to go to a bank or credit union to deposit your check, soon it will be done automatically for you each month.

In the past when a person signed up for Social Security, they had the option to either receive their payment by check or direct deposit. Receiving a check hasn’t been an option for a while upon signing up with Social Security and won’t be available for anyone after February – regardless of when they signed up or what option they chose at the time.

In addition to providing a convenience to Social Security beneficiaries, electronic payments are more efficient and cost effective for the government. It saves the government the additional expenditure of preparing and mailing monthly checks and the government doesn’t have to pay to replace checks that are lost, stolen, or missing – which happens a lot more than you think. The government will save a billion dollars over the next ten years by making this change.

If you currently receive your check by direct deposit, you’re in the minority. As of September 12, 92.8 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries received their benefits via direct deposit. You can sign up for direct deposit online at “My Social Security.” You can also find out more information about direct deposit at godirect.gov and  godirect.org. You can also call the SSA at Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) for more information.

The Social Security Administration also offers another online service we all can benefit from, regardless of whether or not you currently receive benefits. The SSA’s “My Social Security” page allows everyone access to their social security account and information.

If you are receiving benefits you can do the following:

  • Get your benefit verification letter (proof of your income from SS)
  • Check your benefit and payment information and your earnings record
  • Change your personal information like your address and phone number
  • Start or manage the direct deposit of your benefit payment

If you are not receiving benefits you can do the following:

  • Get estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits
  • Get your earnings record
  • Get the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid
 
Author: Robert Till
January 17th, 2013