Deadline Looms To Switch Your Federal Benefits Checks Into Electronic Payments - WSPA.com

Deadline Looms To Switch Your Federal Benefits Checks Into Electronic Payments

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By Tracey Early

Don’t let 100-year-old Lucille Rookard’s age fool you. She isn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon. And she doesn’t worry about much.

But her kids do. They're worried when March 1st comes, the date the U.S. Treasury will stop mailing federal benefits via checks, that Lucille won't get her money.

Right now she gets a check every month because she doesn't have a bank account.

“I feel like they wouldn't send it and her money would just be somewhere instead of being in a bank,” said her daughter, Grace Jackson.

Born in 1912, Lucille also doesn't have a birth certificate. Because of that Grace says her mom hasn't been able to get an ID to open a bank account. Not knowing where else to turn, Lucille's family called 7 On Your Side.

If you don't have a bank or credit union account you can still get your money after the deadline. The U.S. Treasury recommends you open a Direct Express Prepaid Debit Card. In place of the check, your benefits are loaded onto the card every month.

Lucille's kids made the call right away. And within about 20 minutes, she was all set up and back to being thankful for her 100 years, and counting.

“I feel good. The good lord's been good to me,” said Lucille.

The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that going paperless will save taxpayers $1 billion over ten years.

If you miss the March 1st deadline you will automatically begin receiving your payments through a Direct Express card. But officials recommend you make the switch as soon as possible to avoid any delay in payments.

You can make the change at your local social security office.

You can also call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at: 1-800-333-1795 or sign up online.

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