As the Social Security Administration (SSA) has moved to electronic payments, we would like to remind beneficiaries that they should try to do things to reduce the risk of payment theft.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), between October 2012 and last month, $28 million in benefit payments were stolen. Because of fears over stolen benefits, in addition to costs, the SSA switched to electronic payments on March 1.
People who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) now choose between having their money sent directly to their bank account or having it placed on a Direct Express debit MasterCard. There is a way for a person to request a waiver from the electronic service, however, currently, beneficiaries can only get waivers if they are older than 90, mentally impaired or live in a rural area.
Although the SSA hopes that the switch to an electronic system reduces payment theft, there are still examples of fraud being cited in the media. To prevent theft, the AARP recommends:
- Never giving out personal information to unsolicited callers
- Never agreeing to accept pre-paid debit cards or credit cards in another person’s name
- Never sending or wiring money to an unknown people
- Contacting your local SSA office if you receive a call from a person claiming to be from SSA, and that person asks you to provide your Social Security number or other information
It should be noted that most SSA correspondences’ happen through the mail—if there is anything done over the phone, it usually occurs when a person receiving benefits makes a call.
If you have questions about an application for disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.