Although beneficiaries of Social Security Administration’s (SSA) program used to receive their monthly payments via paper checks, federal law now mandates that these and other federal benefits must be made electronically.
Based on these changes, you have two options for how to receive payments electronically. You can have the payments deposited directly to an existing checking or savings account that you own, or you can opt to have your payments loaded onto a Direct Express Mastercard.
The Direct Express card operates just like any other debit card, but you can use it without having a bank account. SSA will add funds to the card on the day that you are scheduled to receive your benefits, and you can use these funds anywhere that accepts Mastercard. You can also use your Direct Express card to get cash, pay bills, and make purchases.
If you use the Direct Express option, you will have a personal identification number that protects your account, your card is FDIC insured and will have federal consumer protection, and if your card is lost or stolen, it will be replaced.
Please note that if you are receiving disability benefits on behalf of someone else as his or her representative payee, you can receive them electronically just as if you were the primary beneficiary.
There are a number of reasons to feel confident about receiving your payments electronically. First of all, they are safer, since there is no risk of one of your checks being lost or stolen; instead, your money goes directly into your bank account. Secondly, electronic payments are more convenient because you do not need to wait in line to cash your checks and then wait for the funds to transfer before you can use them.
To sign up for electronic deposits, you can go online to godirect.gov or call 1-800-333-1795. Alternatively, you can visit your bank, credit union, or savings and loan in person. If you choose to set up direct deposit to your checking or savings account, make sure you have your social security number, the account number, and your financial institution’s routing transit number. Signing up is free, and there are no monthly charges for either method.