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Federal benefit programs to go paperless with payments nationwide

According to the Treasury Department, California has one of the largest state populations still receiving paper checks for federal benefit programs. With nearly five million residents nationwide still receiving paper checks monthly, the agency estimates that it could save roughly $4.6 million a month by going paperless. By switching to direct debit and "Direct Express" debit cards, the savings on printing and shipping alone could save nearly $1 billion over the next 10 years.

The cost-cutting maneuver by the agency will affect all federal benefit programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The deadline for making the switch to electronic payments has been set at March 1, 2013. That gives those currently receiving paper checks just less than two months with which to come into compliance of this new rule.

Those who miss the deadline will be given some leeway however. The paper checks will not stop arriving and the payments will continue. Nevertheless, the agency will ramp up their efforts in targeting those out of compliance to make the transition to paperless payment. In order to assist with the transition, the agency has even enlisted the assistance of local and regional banks, credit unions, social service agencies, and community groups in order to further get the word out and work towards 100 percent compliance by March.

If you are having difficulties making the transition to electronic payments or in just making your claims for SSI or SSD, please contact an attorney. An attorney who practices in Social Security Disability will be able to further assist you in navigating these tricky and difficult processes in order to get you the benefits available to you.

Source: CNN Money, "No more paper Social Security checks come March," Melanie Hicken, Jan. 9, 2013

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