Social Security Benefits Go Paperless on March 1

Social Security Benefits Go Paperless on March 1

Anyone receiving Social Security or other federal benefits has until March 1 to switch to electronic payments or prepaid debit cards.

In a cost saving measure, the government started a program in May 2011 to eventually eliminate the paper checks distributed for Social Security, Veteran Affairs, Supplemental Security Income and other government programs. According to Treasury officials, a mailed check costs the government 92 cents more than a payment made by electronic transfer.

Eligible recipients were required to move to direct deposits or the prepaid debit cards called "Direct Express" by March 1, 2013.

Currently, over 90 percent of these payments are being made electronically. However, the government is still mailing over five million monthly checks, costing an estimated $4.6 million each month. These consumers now have less than two months to make the change.

"We won't interrupt their payment, but we will be communicating with them in a more personal direct way," Walt Henderson, a Treasury official, told CNN.

Recipients who need help switching to electronic payments can visit a special website or call the Go Direct call center at 800-333-1795.