Federal Benefit Checks Changing: What Libraries Can Do To Help

Laura DeBaun – NEKLS  – March 23, 2012

The U.S. Department of the Treasury needs your library’s help in getting out the word on changes to Federal Benefit Checks.

The Treasury Department’s Go Direct® campaign provides free materials to help you share this important information in your library outlets. For more details or to order free materials, contact GO DIRECT at 800-333-1795, GoDirect@webershandwick.com OR visit http://www.godirect.org/partners/order-materials/.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently announced that all federal benefits will be paid electronically. Anyone applying for federal benefits will need to choose an electronic payment method at the time they apply for their benefit, while anyone currently receiving paper checks must switch by March 1, 2013. People already receiving benefit payments electronically do not need to take further action. They will continue to receive their payment as usual on their payment date.

The Treasury Department issues approximately 9.8 million federal benefit checks each month, including 366,553 Social Security and Supplemental Security Income checks in California alone. This change makes it more important than ever for organizations such as libraries to encourage Senior Citizens/Veterans/People with Disabilities to sign up for electronic payments now.

Have a bank or credit union account? Americans can sign up for direct deposit of their benefit payments directly into their checking or savings account by going to www.GoDirect.org, calling (800) 333-1795, or visiting their local bank or credit union.

Prefer a prepaid debit card? The Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card is a prepaid debit card that provides a safe, low-cost alternative to paper checks for federal benefits payments. Funds on the Direct Express® card are FDIC-insured (up to the legal limit). Cardholders can make retail purchases, pay bills and get cash back. No bank account or credit check is required. To sign up for the card, or to learn about its fees and features, people can go to www.GoDirect.org, call (800) 333-1795, or contact their federal agency.

People who do not choose an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013, or at the time they apply for federal benefits, will receive their payments via the Direct Express® card so they will not experience any interruption in payment.

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