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SSA to Start Paying Beneficiaries Electronically Next Year

April 26, 2012

Before, there are two ways in which you can receive your monthly paychecks from the Social Security Administration (SSA). One is via mail and the other, electronically. But, starting March 2013, the SSA will phase out the use of mail as a mode of payment. Basically, everyone else will be receiving their payments electronically.

The switch

Starting next year, the check will no longer be available via mail for those who receive Social Security and other government benefits. It was also announced prior to this that for those who applied for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, payments received must be via electronic means. So if you are planning to apply for benefits, assuming that your claim is approved, you must not forget to sign up for electronic payments.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, nearly 90 percent of people who receive Social Security and other federal benefits have already received monthly payments electronically.

The 2013 full switch to the electronic means of payment would basically save the federal government about $120 million annually. Over the next decade, the SSA will be expecting to save about a billion dollars, the Treasury added.

The switch was implemented to prevent fraud and cases of lost or stolen benefits. Two years ago, more than 540,000 federal benefit checks were reported to have been lost or stolen. The electronic mode of payment is a simpler and more convenient way to receive benefits.

Affected benefits

The electronic mode of payment will affect not only Social Security beneficiaries. Those who receive veterans’ benefits, railroad pensions, and federal disability payments will also be receiving electronic payments. At some point, tax refunds are not included, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) strongly persuades taxpayers to process their refunds faster by using electronic means.

Electronic payment options for SS beneficiaries

There are three options where you can sign up for electronic payments:

If you plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits or any other federal government benefits, you must also take time to plan for your electronic mode of payment. March 1, 2013 is still a long way to go, so you still have time to make the switch. If you reached the date and you still haven’t switched to electronic payments, the Treasury Department may have to send your payments to Direct Express to avoid interruptions.
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