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Social Security to transition to electronic only payments

For Georgia residents and the millions of other Social Security beneficiaries, there are only two months remaining to make the change to electronic payments. The deadline to do so is March1, 2013. The Treasury Department has been phasing out the paper checks since May 2011, and since then, all new recipients have been required to opt in to receiving their benefits through direct deposit or prepaid debit cards. Now, time is running out for recipients of federal benefits programs, which include Social Security, Supplemental Security Income disability and Veterans Affairs, to make the change.

According to CNNMoney, 93 percent of the Treasury Department payments for these benefits programs are  disbursed electronically. However, the remaining seven percent leaves five million checks still being mailed each month -- with a monthly cost of $4.6 million. Each mailed checks cost 92 cents more than the electronic options, and would cost $1 billion over the next 10 years if the electronic changeover did not occur.

For Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Veterans Affairs benefits recipients, there may be some inconvenience in making the change. However, the cost to retain the mailed check program is astronomical, utilizing funds which could be allocated elsewhere, including back into the benefits programs.

For Social Security benefits recipients, there are numerous details to take into account, in applying and in receiving the benefits. Working closely with an attorney who is experienced in the system can help to ensure that these processes are taken care of as smoothly as possible.

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

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