Attention caregivers: Federal benefit checks are going
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(BPT) -- More than 65 million
people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or elderly
family member or friend, according to the National Alliance for
Caregiving. In addition to providing emotional and physical support,
caregivers are often entrusted to help their loved ones carry out
If you care for someone who receives Social Security or other
federal benefit payments by paper check, you may need to help him or
her to make an important financial decision. By March 1, the U.S.
Department of the Treasury will pay all federal benefit payments
electronically, and federal benefit recipients still receiving paper
checks will be required by law to choose an electronic payment
option, either direct deposit or the Treasury-recommended Direct
Express® Debit MasterCard®
Electronic payments save you time
As a caregiver, you are balancing multiple roles and
responsibilities. Electronic payments eliminate the hassle of
getting to the bank to cash or deposit your care recipient's check.
It usually takes less than 10 minutes to make the switch to
electronic payments. Your relative or friend's federal benefit
payment will be deposited automatically into his or her account or
onto the Direct Express®
card on payment day each month.
Prepare for and protect against financial crime
Last year alone, more than 440,000 Social Security and
Supplemental Security Income checks were reported lost or stolen.
Signing up for electronic payments is a simple but important step
you can take to eliminate this risk and also protect against
Protecting personal financial information is another important
way to prevent identity theft and stolen benefit payments. Speak
with your care recipient about keeping this information private and
not sharing it with strangers -- especially those who call over the
phone. The Treasury Department will never call to request your
Social Security number or bank account information. Your loved one
should not share this information unless he or she initiates the
Change is hard, but it's time to have the conversation
More than 90 percent of beneficiaries already enjoy the benefits
of direct deposit.
While some still prefer paper checks and monthly visits to the
bank, it's important, as a caregiver, to ensure your care recipient
takes advantage of the safety and convenience of electronic
It may be difficult to convince an aging parent or relative about
switching to electronic payments. You can help your loved one see
that making the switch can bring peace of mind, knowing his or her
money is safe.
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Fast, easy and free to switch
With the March 1 deadline coming up
soon, time is running out to comply with the law and switch to
electronic payment. You can help your care recipient switch his or
her federal benefits payment to on electronic option online at
or by calling the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center
toll-free at 800-333-1795. Make sure your family member or friend
has his or her information on hand when making the switch:
number or claim number
benefit check number
Amount of most
recent federal benefit check
institution's routing transit number
Account number and type -- checking or
You also can help your loved one contact the federal benefit
agency office or financial institution to switch to direct deposit.
The preceding information has been provided by the U.S.
Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service.
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
Inc. MasterCard® and the
MasterCard® brand mark are
registered trademarks of MasterCard International Inc.