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Important Information If You Receive Federal Benefit Paper Checks

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An important heads up if you still receive paper checks via the post office from Social Security, Veterans Affairs, federal pension and/or other government checks. As of March 1, 2013, these payments will all be electronic because of changes made by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. They are doing this in order to save money on paper, printing and postage. In other words, the check will no longer be in the mail.

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Please know that it is up to you to sign up for direct deposit to your checking account and the sooner the better in order to make sure any possible glitches are worked out beforehand and be able to rest assured there will be no unforeseen or unwanted glitches.

If you don't sign up for direct deposit, you'll receive benefits on a prepaid Direct Express MasterCard. However, this card comes with fees for every single ATM withdrawal and also any ATM specific surcharges will be added on top of that amount per transaction. There are also paper statement fees and fees for transferring any money from that card to another account.

In my humble opinion it is best to have your benefits electronically deposited for the above mentioned reasons, plus most banks will even waive the normal monthly checking account fee simply for having direct deposit. Talk to your bank about whether they have this free checking account benefit and if they don't, then shop around for a new bank.

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Call 1-800-333-1795 or go to http://godirect.org in order to set up the payments to be direct deposited into your bank account. You'll need a Social Security or claim number, the 12-digit federal benefit check number, the amount of the most recent federal benefit check and the information of the bank account you'd like the payment sent to.

By Deeli from Richland, WA

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Anonymous
April 4, 20120 found this helpful

I'd like to add another benefit of requesting direct deposit rather than having the pre-paid debit card. If you lose the debit card who knows how long it will take to be replaced and in the meantime you will not have access to your money.

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April 10, 20120 found this helpful

You posted a great one here Deeli. I can only hope people will heed the warning. GG Vi

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April 10, 20120 found this helpful

I guess I'm doing something wrong. I send checks to the government but they never send any to me. Hmm

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April 12, 20120 found this helpful

I currently have one of these cards. You can find some banks that will let you withdraw money without fees. They're listed on the website portal. You can also use the card just like any other debit/credit card. I use it to pay bills, buy groceries, etc. without any problems.

The only drawback is that (just as with bank accounts) you have to be aware of exactly how much money is in the account. I use a small notebook/pad and the website portal to track my purchases.

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Anonymous
April 13, 20120 found this helpful

cremrnc, if you have your money automatically deposited into a bank account rather than using the government debit card the bank will issue you their bank debit card for free and will give you check registers for free and all of your transactions and balances are available to view in real immediate time online. You can even print those statements out if you need to.

Oh, and they'll give you two debit cards if you request it so that you have one to put away in case you lose the other one and then you won't have to worry about being without access to your money while waiting for a new one to be issued.

You can also set up automatic bill pay (like monthly rent/mortgage payments) and pay your other bills there too and that way all of your information is available in one place.

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