WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With just five months remaining until the March 1, 2013, transition to all-electronic federal benefit payments, the U.S. Department of the Treasury reports that Maine seniors and other federal benefit recipients are still receiving nearly 27,000 paper checks each month and have yet to switch to direct deposit or the Treasury-recommended Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card.
"If you or a loved one haven't yet made the switch, please take note of this new law and sign up for electronic payments today," said David Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service. "Our friendly, courteous call center agents are available to answer questions and assist seniors and others with the switch to direct deposit or the Direct Express® card."
Two choices for electronic payment
In Maine today, more than 323,000 monthly federal benefit payments are already made via direct deposit to a bank or credit union account, or to the Direct Express® card. The card allows federal benefit recipients to pay bills, withdraw cash and make purchases without paying check-cashing fees. The money on the Direct Express® card is FDIC-insured, and many card services are free.
"Whether you choose direct deposit or the Direct Express® card, you will experience the same benefits of electronic payment: You don't need to go to the bank or credit union to deposit or cash your check every month, you don't have to worry about misplacing your check, and you don't put yourself at risk for having your check stolen," Lebryk said. "Electronic benefit payments also will save American taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years."
The Treasury Department's Go Direct® public education campaign is working with more than 1,800 partner organizations throughout the country to spread the message about the electronic payment rule and educate federal benefit recipients about their options. The Treasury Department encourages beneficiaries who have questions about electronic payments to visit www.GoDirect.org to view several educational videos and print materials that explain how electronic payments work and how to use the Direct Express® card.
Making the switch is easy
Check recipients can sign up for direct deposit or the Direct Express® card by calling toll-free 1-800-333-1795, visiting www.GoDirect.org, or talking to their local federal paying agency office. The process is fast, easy and free.
- By taking a few minutes to gather the necessary information ahead of time, most federal benefit recipients can sign up for electronic payments with one phone call that takes 10 minutes or less.
- Individuals will need their Social Security number or claim number, their 12-digital federal benefit check number and the amount of their most recent federal benefit check. If choosing direct deposit, recipients also will need their financial institution's routing transit number, (often found on a personal check) account number and account type (checking or saving).
- There are no sign-up fees or monthly fees to receive benefits electronically.
Anyone already receiving federal benefit payments electronically will continue to receive their money as usual on their payment day. No action is required.
The Go Direct® campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Direct Express® logo, Go Direct® and Direct Express® are registered service marks, and the Go Direct(SM) logo is a service mark, of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service. The Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card is issued by Comerica Bank, pursuant to a license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.
SOURCE U.S. Department of the Treasury