News & Resources

Federal campaign encourages lagging benefit recipients to integrate electronic payments

Dec 03, 2012 Dave King

A March 1, 2013 deadline is looming for the Department of the Treasury to make sure all recipients of federal benefits, including those on social security, converted from receiving paper checks to the government's required all-electronic payment system. But making the change hasn't been easy for some people. The Journal-News in Martinsburg, West Virginia, reported that more than 71,000 senior citizens and others receiving federal payments in that state are still getting their checks in the mail. Most of West Virginia's recipients - more than 464,000 - have their checks directly deposited into a bank account, prepaid debit card or the Treasury-recommended Direct Express card, an ACH card that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Direct Express allows recipients to pay their bills, withdraw money and make purchases with funds available on the card. For those people, no change is needed and they will continue to receive payments on their usual date each month. The Treasury Department has ramped up its public education campaign, dubbed "Go Direct," by partnering with 1,800 organizations across the country to let seniors and others know that a choice has to be made by March 1, 2013. The campaign stresses that there are no signup fees or monthly charges to receive payments electronically.