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Paper Social Security checks are a thing of the past, and all retirement and disability payments (with minor exceptions) are made electronically.

The Social Security Administration has been transitioning to electronic payments for some time, so most recipients are already enrolled. Did you know that if you did not sign up by March 1, 2013, you will automatically receive a Direct Express debit card. By eliminating paper checks, the federal government anticipates saving about $120 million annually and 12 million pounds of paper during the first five years.1 Beneficiaries will no longer have to wait for a monthly check to arrive in the mail, take the time to deposit or cash it, or risk having it stolen from the mailbox.

social security monthly payments

New Scams for New Times

Unfortunately, thieves adjust to changing times, and there is a growing trend toward fraudulent access to electronic benefit payments. In a typical scam, the thief gains access to personal information (such as a name and bank account number) and then contacts the Social Security Administration, requesting that payments be rerouted to a different account.2 Of course, it’s good practice for all consumers to be wary of any requests for personal information. You should never provide account numbers or Social Security numbers in person, over the phone, or online unless you are absolutely sure that the transaction is secure and appropriate.

1) Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, April 29, 2011
2) CNNMoney, September 26, 2012

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