Hoping to trim internal costs, fight fraud, and make things easier for benefits recipients, the Social Security Administration recently re-affirmed its commitment to using electronic direct deposit methods of payment. For those receiving traditional retirement benefits, survivor payments, Social Security disability, Veterans Affairs, government pensions, and Supplemental Security Income, the government would much prefer to provide help with the click of a button, rather than a stamped envelope.
Those who have made a successful new benefits application or appeal will only have the option of direct deposit payments. Additionally, the more than 1 million people getting checks in the mail, of which a large portion resides in Texas, are being pressured toward the administration’s goal of complete electronic payment by March 1, 2013.
In spite of the already widespread move to electronic payments, roughly 5 million checks are still mailed out each month at a cost of $4.6 million to the already cash-strapped Social Security Administration. The Treasury has forecasted that over the next decade direct deposit of benefits will save programs a combined total of $1 billion.
Another compelling reason for the move to electronic payments is security. In 2011 alone, over 440,000 mailed checks were either lost or stolen. Worse, $70 million in rightful, needed benefits were fraudulently endorsed by someone other than their rightful recipients.
Working to improve the administration’s long-term financial health, direct deposit payments are taken by most to be a prudent, if momentarily disorienting, change to the Social Security landscape. However, before deposits can begin for those in need of disability or supplemental income, an application or appeal must be approved. This complicated and often lengthy ordeal demands the aid of an attorney experienced in Social Security law.
Source: CNN Money, “No more paper Social Security checks come March,” Melanie Hicken, Jan. 9, 2013
• Working with an attorney can greatly expedite the work of securing disability benefits. For more information, contact our Houston Social Security law page.