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Social Security payments will be electronic for all come March

The Social Security Administration has been working on changing the method of distributing Social Security benefits for a while. Now, the SSA has set a deadline for when recipients of benefits-including Supplemental Security Income and disability benefits-need to switch to receiving their benefits electronically.

Beginning March 1, disability benefits will only be distributed electronically. While approximately 93 percent of Americans receiving checks from the SSA already use an electronic payment method, such as direct deposit or a debit card, about 5 million Americans still receive their benefits in the form of paper checks in the mail each month.

While the SSA has set a deadline for the switch to electronic benefits, they will not discontinue sending benefits to recipients who do not select their preferred method of receiving benefits electronically. According to a report, any people who do not make the change will be contacted by the SSA to make the change to electronic payments.

Some people who receive their disability benefits payments or SSI in the mail may be hesitant to switch to electronic payments and may wonder why the SSA would require this change. One major incentive for the SSA to switch to all-electronic payments is the money they will save on not having to send millions of checks in the mail every month. According to one report, the SSA will save approximately $1 billion over the next decade by making this change.

Recipients of disability benefits or SSI who are still receiving paper checks in the mail will want to select a method of receiving their payments electronically as soon as possible. Making the change before March 1 will eliminate the annoyance of being contacted by the SSA for not making the change.

Source: The New York Times, "Officials say checks won't be in the mail," Paula Span, Jan. 17, 2013

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