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Don't check the mailbox: SSD and SSDI e-payments begin

As we discussed in a previous post, the way in which every Texan who currently receives Social Security benefits, be they through the Association's SSD or SSDI programs, veterans benefits, or conventional payments to seniors who have paid into the system over the course of their careers, is being drastically changed. Rather than arriving each month in the mail as a printed paper government check, benefits will be distributed to recipients through more efficient and immediate electronic means.

The change is already underway-electronic-only payments went into effect March 1.

What does this mean for the 284,000 Texans, many of them currently dealing with a disability and unable to work, who are getting benefit checks each month in their mailboxes? Individuals themselves will have to be proactive in setting up just how they will continue to be paid each month-a decision for which both the federal Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration have forwarded multiple options.

Recipients can go online to set up payment details between the SSA and their preferred bank or credit union so that each month benefits are directly deposited into the account of their choosing. Texans can also call the Treasury Department directly to set up e-payments over the phone.

If directly deposited payments aren't desired or for some reason impossible, those already getting SSD and SSDI benefits can obtain and use a Direct Express Debit MasterCard, which will be loaded each month with cardholders' Social Security benefits. However, the card will only be able to be used up to four times per month without additional fees; those who plan to use a Direct Express card frequently will pay a small transaction fee for their fifth monthly use and each one thereafter.

New applicants for Social Security disability or supplemental security income benefits will have no choice but to receive their payments electronically should their claims be approved. That, in itself, can be an incredibly arduous process, and as the laws and financial practices of the Social Security Administration's programs continue to shift with the times, the insight of an experienced attorney will become only more valuable.

Source: The Vindicator, "Social Security in Texas goes paperless March 1," John Michaelson, Feb. 24, 2013

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