To save money, the federal government wants to make all its payments electronically. That means a direct deposit into a bank account, or onto a debit card. If there's a senior in your life, it's a good time to ask them if they've let Social Security know how they want to receive their benefits – or help them with the transition.
Cristina Martin Firvida with A-A-R-P says while it's important to get it done, don't worry too much about the deadline.
With a debit card, Firvida says there are a few important questions to ask. Find out about the fees for using the card ... whether there's a good network of A-T-M machines so you can get cash when you need it ... and whether a debit card is practical for paying bills. All banks and credit unions offer debit cards – and now, she says the U-S Treasury has a card, too, just for this purpose.
A-A-R-P is warning people that with any change, there are always scams that crop up. Firvida says if you are called or emailed with reminders about the deadline or asked for personal information to help make the switch, hang up or press "delete."
Firvida says a bank or credit union can help arrange for direct deposits or a debit card. It can be done online, at 'godirect.org,' or by calling the Treasury Department at 800-333-1795. A-A-R-P also has information about making this transition on its website, at 'aarp.org.'