On Monday we discussed the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) recent announcement that March 1, 2013, will be the deadline for all benefits recipients to move to a paperless system. Currently, only about 3 percent of payments are sent out by paper check, but this move could potentially affect those 5 million people who still wait for their benefits in the mail each month.
Other than saving the government a great deal of money, the SSA claims that this move to a no-paper system will help keep recipients’ money safer each month. Instead of sending out a check each month, disability benefits would be automatically deposited into a bank account. Many people rely on their disability benefits to pay their monthly bills, and a lost or stolen check can put a person in extreme financial hardship. However, some people who receive benefits do not have bank accounts, and instead, use private establishments to cash their checks. People with poor credit may have difficulty obtaining a bank account.
Recognizing this obstacle, CNN stated that Social Security will be working with over 1,800 local credit unions, banks and social service agencies to help people make the electronic transition. These organizations will send out mailings and create public service announcements to encourage people to switch to an electronic method.
If benefits recipients do not switch, will their benefits be in danger? The federal government says no. According to Walt Henderson, an official with the United States Treasury Department, the government will not actually force people to switch.
“We won’t interrupt their payment,” he told CNN about those who do not opt for direct deposit. “But we will be communicating with them in a more personal direct way. After March 1, they are not in compliance.”
If you have questions about applying for or receiving disability benefits, contact our Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers for more information. We offer free evaluations of your case to discuss your situation, and you may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.