Current Weather
The Spy FM

Get A Social Security Check? Treasury Says It’s Time To Go Electronic

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
February 19, 2013

Every month, the government sends out about 5 million checks to Americans who receive federal benefits. On March 1, the Treasury Department is making those paper checks a thing of the past.

Since May 2011, all new Social Security recipients are required to get direct deposit of their benefits. Some 93 percent of all recipients now do.

But there are still holdouts, so the Treasury Department started a campaign and a website, Go Direct, in an effort to convince the remaining 7 percent.

The department is prodding people to switch for one big reason: cost. Treasury spokesman Walt Henderson says the government will save $1 billion over 10 years by not having to print paper checks.

“It costs us about a little over a dollar to issue a paper check. It costs us 10 cents for an electronic payment,” he says. “There’s the postage, the production and the cost of the paper and so on that won’t be needed with electronic payments.”

The government wants all benefit recipients to switch to electronic payments, including those who get Social Security, veterans benefits and federal employee retirement checks. Folks who don’t will still get their checks, Henderson says, but they’ll also get some personalized attention from Treasury.

“We won’t interrupt the payment. We want to see how many people comply and reach out to people in a more direct way through the mail and see if we can assist them in complying with the requirement,” he says.

As an alternative to direct deposit, recipients can get debit cards, although there are fees.

AARP has another worry. “We’re very concerned about fraud,” says Cristina Martin Firvida, the senior lobby’s director of financial security.

“To be fair, fraud is a problem whether you have a paper check or whether you have direct deposit or a debit card,” she says. “Changing from a check to debit card merely changes the schemes for the fraud.”

Firvida says AARP is in talks with the Treasury Department over how to increase safety for the debit cards.

The department says debit cards and direct deposit are actually more secure than paper checks, which get stolen and fraudulently endorsed. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

7PM to 8PM Folk Salad

Folk Salad

Folk Salad Hosts Richard Higgs and Scott Aycock play an eclectic mix of Folk, Singer/songwriter, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Red Dirt, and anything else we happen to like that week.

Listen Live Now!

8PM to 9PM For the Sake of the Song

For the Sake of the Song

Greg Johnson, owner of The Blue Door in Oklahoma City gathers the best Red Dirt musicians in the region for his show.

View the program guide!

9PM to 12AM SpyLab

SpyLab

Katie Wicks is our resident international superstar DJ. She hosts SpyLab, a dance mix show on Saturday nights and co-hosts the largest weekly dance party in OKC, Robotic Wednesdays. She has had two original dance songs chart in the World Top 100 Beatport charts. She has been hired to DJ in L.A., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Portugal, Spain and Costa Rica.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center