Social security checks becoming a thing of the past - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Social security checks becoming a thing of the past

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Social Security checks are about to become a thing of the past. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department is expected to announce that all payments from the U.S. government will be made electronically.

That means people receiving Social Security, and other types of supplemental income - including veterans, railroad retirement and U.S. government benefits - will get their money either through direct deposit into a bank account or through a direct debit card issued by the Treasury.

The move will save the government a whopping $48 million annually in postage alone, and an additional $303 million in the first five years.

But will it prove difficult for seniors who haven't gravitated towards modern banking? Deborah Sparks, director for the Council on Aging, says yes.

"I think our concern is that for folks who've been accustomed to getting a check in the mail every month, that these changes are going to look kind of radical," Sparks says. "And it seems like its fertile ground for the type of fraud scam type thing we have seen on so many other occasions."

Sparks says direct debit cards can be stolen from seniors too easily. "On the other hand, the direct deposit is a nice, easy way to just get a notification that the deposit has been made," she adds.

But Sparks says many seniors will need a little coaching on how to set that up. "We would like to encourage older adults to contact the people they know and trust for good information."

Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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