As of March 1, 2013 the US Treasury is requiring electronic payment for veterans benefits and all other federal benefits payments, including Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement Board, Department of Labor (Black Lung) and Office of Personnel Management benefit checks. This is a big change, but one made with your interests in mind, because electronic payments are cheaper, faster, and safer than sending paper checks. The US Treasury is giving people who receive VA Compensation Benefits, Social Security benefits, and other federal benefits two options for receiving they payments: direct deposit, or the option of receiving a prepaid debit card. Remember, people receiving these federal benefits are required to make the switch to electronic direct deposit by March 1, 2013.
Here is an explanation from the US Treasury’s YouTube Channel:
How Does Electronic Payment for Veterans Benefits Work?
The US Treasury Department sends money to your bank or credit union to deposit money directly to your account every time it is due each month. Your bank will then notify you that your money has been deposited into your account. You can also check your account online to see if the deposit has occurred.
Benefits of direct deposit: Direct deposit is a more reliable way of depositing money into your bank account as it greatly reduces the chances of having your money stolen. The high incidence of paper checks being lost or stolen costs federal benefits recipients millions of dollars every year, and is one of the driving forces behind the US Treasury Requiring electronic payment for veterans benefits. Also, with electronic direct deposit there is never the chance of your money reaching you late due to inclement weather, as is sometimes the case with the postal service. Electronic direct deposit is convenient and saves time by removing the need to visit the bank to deposit your check. Backed by the US Treasury, you can feel safe and confident that your money will always reach you.
How to Make the Switch to Direct Deposit:
You can sign up online. There are instructions online, or you can call the Helpline for assistance at (800) 333-1795. You will need to provide the following information:
- Federal benefits check number
- Amount issued on you federal benefits check
- Bank routing number
- Your bank account number
Option 2: Prepaid Debit Card
Don’t have a bank account? No problem. You can sign up for a Direct Express Debit MasterCard card. Once the card is activated, your money will be sent directly to your card. Also, sign up for debit card alerts to find out when your money has been deposited. You can choose to be notified via a text message or by email.
Signing up for the card is free and there are no monthly fees charged to your account. Free services include the ability to make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted, cash back at the point of sale, cash withdrawals from banks and credit unions, and one free card replacement per year. You also get one no-charge ATM withdrawal each month. Additional ATM withdrawals are $0.90 each. There are small fees for other actions, so be sure to read the details.
The option for using the Direct Express Debit MasterCard card is also open to people who have bank accounts. The convenience of having the card will allow you to pay your bills anywhere electronic payments are accepted. This means no more waiting in line at the bank or going to an ATM to get some cash. The initiative by the US Treasury is designed to get you your money on time every time. Make the switch to electronic direct deposit today!