People receiving benefits from the US federal government, from Social Security recipients to veterans with pensions, won't have to wait for their checks to arrive in the mail anymore after March 1st. That's when the US Treasury department will be switching its benefits payments system over from paper checks to electronic direct deposit, a change that's been in the works for the past three years.
the transition will save all taxpayers an estimated $1 billion over the next decade
Aside from avoiding having checks lost or stolen in the mail (as some 440,000 were in 2011), and aside from allowing recipients to use their benefits money sooner, the transition will save all taxpayers an estimated $1 billion over the next decade, according to the Treasury Department. The agency has been urging benefits recipients to provide their bank accounts for direct deposit on its "Go Direct" website. But for all the rest who haven't yet done so, they have the next five days to sign up online here, or the government will automatically mail them a Direct Express MasterCard that will be filled up with future payments and is used exactly like an ATM card. Benefit recipients can choose the card in lieu of direct deposit as well.
Meanwhile, the Treasury Department will automatically keep sending paper checks to those born on or before May 1st, 1921, because many seniors don't have or don't want to use computers to check up on their benefits, as CBS This Morning reports. As beneficial as the switchover will be in the long run, it could provide a short window for scammers to try and trick people into providing them their account numbers or benefits, so CBS is urging people receiving benefits to be on alert for fraudulent phone calls and emails this week.