The age of technology has arrived and more companies are going paperless than ever, including the Social Security Administration.
What does the SSA's shift towards paperless payments mean for Social Security Disability beneficiaries?
Many wonder exactly what changes are being made and how those changes will affect them on a personal level. The following information will help you understand how the change to paperless payments will affect your monthly Social Security Disability benefits.
Social Security Disability applicants have been able to apply for benefits online for quite some time, but it is just recently that the Social Security Administration has implemented a policy of electronic benefit payments. This means that Social Security Disability beneficiaries will no longer be able to receive their Social Security Disability benefits by check. Instead, payments will be made electronically.
If you receive Social Security Disability payments, you will need to have a checking account to which the Social Security Administration can transfer your monthly disability benefits. If you receive monthly Social Security Disability payments, you must select a method of direct deposit by March 1, 2013. Once you have selected your direct deposit method, the Social Security Administration will begin depositing your benefits into that account each month rather than sending you a monthly disability check by mail.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are some exceptions to this new rule for Social Security Disability beneficiaries. The Social Security Administration understands that not all beneficiaries will be able to handle this change in payment policies. As a result, they have allowed for three exclusions to the electronic payment rule. If a Social Security Disability beneficiary lives in a rural area, is over 90 years in age or suffers from a mental illness that makes them incapable of managing a bank account, they may be able to obtain an exemption to the change in the Social Security Administration's new payment policy.
The Benefits of Paperless Payments
The benefits of transitioning to paperless payments are very clear, both for the Social Security Administration and for individual claimants.
Over a ten-year period, the change to paperless payments is expected to save the Social Security Administration more than $1 billion dollars. With the Social Security Administration struggling to make ends meet as it is, this savings will certainly help to offset some of the agency's financial burden.
The change to paperless payments is not only in the best interests of the SSA, however. Social Security Disability beneficiaries will also benefit from this new payment method. No longer will checks be lost in the mail and recipients will not have to go to the bank to deposit their Social Security Disability checks.
How to Make the Change
You don't have to wait till 2013 to take advantage of paperless payments from the Social Security Administration. You can do so now by calling 1-800-333-1795 or by going to www.GoDirect.org. Make sure you have the routing number and checking account number ready when preparing to migrate to the paperless payment method.
If it is impossible for you to open a checking account or if you do not feel comfortable providing your checking account information to the Social Security Administration, you can opt for the Direct Express card. The card works like a debit card and your monthly Social Security Disability benefits are automatically added to the card.
While the change to paperless Social Security Disability payments may be worrisome for some Social Security Disability beneficiaries, in the long run it will serve disability recipients and the Social Security System much better than the current system. Your benefit payment will arrive on time each and every month and you will no longer have to make the trip to the bank to deposit your Social Security Disability check. In situations like this one, change is a good thing.