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US Treasury Campaigns for Social Security Debit Cards

August 19, 2009

The US Treasury Department is campaigning for Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to be deposited on a debit card for those who are receiving payments through checks.

This is being done to address the problem of lost checks that are sent through mail.

“Those paper checks are problematic. They get lost, stolen or aren’t received on time,” according to Phil Belisle of the Treasury’s financial center in San Francisco.

Through the program, instead of a check, the beneficiaries will receive their monthly payment through a Direct Express plastic card.

In a pilot project last year in Illinois, about 3,000 people were given a debit card for their benefits.

Eighty percent of them were satisfied, with about 60% saying that the card saved them money for check-cashing fees.

Since then, The Treasury Department has begun advertising the card to all Social Security recipients.

The plan though would not apply to recipients who use direct deposit.

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