This week’s posts have discussed Social Security’s transition to a system of entirely electronic benefits. If you apply for retirement or disability benefits today, you have no choice but to receive your benefits electronically. Everyone will have to receive them electronically by March 1 of next year.
Some beneficiaries have expressed concerns with the change. They may not have access to bank accounts to receive the benefits, or they may not be physically able to travel to ATMs on a regular basis to withdraw their money. And then there are the fees beneficiaries have to worry about. In Wednesday’s post, we discussed what beneficiaries can do to avoid fees that eat away at your benefits.
Today we will provide a few of the benefits of the electronic transition to direct deposit or the Direct Express debit card. These benefits will hopefully allay many of the concerns that beneficiaries have:
- As with regular banks, the FDIC insures your electronic benefits up to $250,000, so you can be sure that your benefits are safe
- If you promptly report unauthorized use of your card, you will have no liability for the unlawful use
- Electronic benefits are more convenient – you no longer have to have paper checks or cash, and you can access your benefits at ATMs worldwide (although, be mindful of the fees we discussed on Wednesday for non-network ATMs or for ATMs overseas)
- Though there are fees associated with the Direct Express card, many services are free, including purchases at retail stores, cash back with purchases, online access to your benefits account, notifications when deposits post to your account or when you reach a certain balance, and one free replacement card per year
- You can use the Direct Express card to purchase money orders (fees will apply) at Post Office branches
- The fees are generally cheaper than those that check cashing businesses charge for cashing paper benefits checks
The transition to electronic benefits should also save money for the Social Security Administration, helping it devote more resources to processing applications and eliminating fraud and waste. If you are considering filing for disability benefits, fill out a contact form on our website to speak with one of our Tulsa OK Social Security disability lawyers.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys