All federal benefit check recipients are required by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to switch to electronic payments by March 1, 2013. It’s important that local United Ways and our partners urge the people we serve to switch now instead of waiting for the deadline.
The winter months are the perfect time to highlight the reliability and convenience of electronic payments. Ice, snow and subzero temperatures can leave people trapped in their homes and halt important services like mail delivery. When this happens, people who rely on paper federal benefit checks can be left without access to their money at a time when they need it most.
Last winter was a record-setter for many parts of the Northeast. Accuweather.com predicts above normal winter precipitation for most of the Northeast during January and February 2012. It’s important to help federal benefit check recipients take action to protect their money now before a winter storm hits.
Urge People to Winterize Their Money Today
By encouraging people to switch to electronic payments, you will help ensure that they get their money on time no matter what winter brings. With electronic payments, money is there on payment day. Plus, there’s no need for people to leave home to cash or deposit a check. There are two payment options recommended by the Treasury Department:
- Direct deposit. People with a bank or credit union account can sign up to receive their money through direct deposit. Their money will go straight into their checking or savings account on payment day each month and be accessible from virtually anywhere.
- Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card. This prepaid debit card provides another reliable, low-cost alternative to paper checks. Money is posted to the card account on payment day each month. Cardholders can make purchases, pay bills and get cash anywhere Debit MasterCard® is accepted. For information on card fees and features, visit www.GoDirect.org. No bank account or credit check is required.
To make the switch to direct deposit or the Direct Express® card, current federal benefit check recipients can contact their federal benefit agency office, visit the Treasury Department’s Go Direct® campaign website at www.GoDirect.org, or call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795. For direct deposit, people can also make the switch at their local bank or credit union.
Share This Important Information
Helping people winterize their federal benefit payments is easy. The Treasury Department’s Go Direct campaign provides you with free materials and ideas to promote electronic payments. Here’s what you can do:
- Display Go Direct campaign and Direct Express® card materials in your lobby.
- Link to www.GoDirect.org from your website.
- Share the Go Direct educational video through your website, presentations or social media channels.
- Actively encourage the people you serve who currently get federal benefit checks to make the switch to electronic payments today.
- You can also communicate to people getting ready to apply for federal benefit payments about the information they will need on-hand to choose their preferred electronic payment option when they fill out their benefit application.
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