piggy bank, moneyThe federal government is going high-tech and paying benefits electronically like Social Security. All federal benefits and non-tax payments will be directly deposited into your account starting March 1 since electronic checks are safer, easier, and more reliable than paper checks. This will be a big switch for Ohio residents, as the state has the 5th largest number of people receiving paper checks from the Social Security Administration.

If you receive benefits from the Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management, or Department of Labor (Black Lung) you will need to make the switch. Time is running out. You need to add a bank account number or sign up for a Direct Express card account by March 1, 2013.

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Direct Express card is a prepaid debit card. You can make purchases, get cash pack, or make payments if MasterCard is accepted at those locations or by those service providers.

Some people may feel this is inconvenient especially in Ohio where a large number of people still receive paper checks and across the nation for the elderly population collecting social security benefits. While some older Americans use computers, many have no idea how to turn on the power. It’s a necesary change, though.

It’s a move that is long overdue.  Identity theft is rampant, and this will put people at less risk. With paper checks, anyone can steal it and potentially steal your personal information. Also, this will save the government money. It cost the government $120 million dollars to distribute paper checks. That number keeps growing as baby boomers are retiring. In Ohio alone, the savings will be more than $2 million a year.

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If you have relatives or friends who are effected, make sure you help them out with the change.