The Norman Transcript

Features

October 16, 2012

Direct deposit options for Social Security recipients

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior,I have received my Social Security check in the mail every month for more than 25 years, and now I’m told I have to switch to direct deposit. Do I have any options?

Suspicious Senior

Dear Suspicious,

If you’re over age of 90, or live in a remote area you may still have the option of receiving your Social Security checks in the mail if you want. Otherwise, you have until March 1, 2013, to switch from paper benefit checks to direct deposit. Here’s what you should know.

Mandatory direct deposit

The reason the U.S. Department of Treasury is phasing out paper Social Security checks and replacing them with electronic delivery is because it’s cheaper, safer and more reliable. About 93 percent of federal benefit recipients already receive their payments via direct deposit. Switching most of the remaining 7 percent to paperless payments is expected to save Social Security around $600 million over the next 10 years in postage, paper and printing costs. The switch also will eliminate the potential problem of checks that get lost in the mail or stolen.

Therefore, anyone who is currently receiving their Social Security, SSI, veterans, railroad retirement or federal civil servant retirement benefits in the mail, will need to switch to direct deposit either into a bank account or credit union of their choice, or a Direct Express Debit MasterCard by March 1, 2013.

The only exceptions are for elderly seniors born before March 1, 1923, mentally impaired people and recipients who live in remote rural areas. They will still have the option of receiving their government benefits via paper check if they wish.

Debit card option

If you don’t want your government benefits direct deposited in your bank account, or if you don’t have a bank account that your payments can be deposited into, you’ll need to get a Direct Express Debit MasterCard. This is a prepaid debit card that was introduced by the Treasury Department back in 2008.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014