U.S. Treasury Urges Social Security Check Recipients to Switch to Direct Deposit
Recommendation Follows Southern California Wildfires; Delivery of Tens of Thousands of Social Security and Other Federal Benefit Checks May Be Impacted by Fires
Washington, D.C. - (October 25, 2007) - As Southern Californians assess the devastating impact of wildfires in their communities, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Go Direct campaign is reminding Social Security check recipients about the importance of switching to direct deposit. The recommendation is aimed at safeguarding senior citizens and people with disabilities by ensuring seamless delivery of their federal benefit payments following a natural disaster.
Wildfires have already disrupted delivery of some 8,700 Social Security checks to Southern California residents, and up to 129,000 additional Social Security and other federal benefit checks are scheduled for release to the affected areas in the next eight days, according to Treasury. Each month, Treasury issues more than 10 million paper benefit checks to Americans nationwide, including 880,000 to California residents.
"During this difficult time, as Southern Californians work to get their lives back in order, one simple step seniors and other federal beneficiaries can take is to sign up for direct deposit - the safest and most reliable payment option," said Alvina McHale, Go Direct project director for the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Management Service.
After such natural disasters as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes and nearly 85,000 emergency payments had to be issued to displaced residents. By contrast, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients already using direct deposit were able to access their funds immediately through automated teller machines, debit cards and financial institution networks around the country.
People who receive federal benefits by check can switch to direct deposit by calling the Go Direct helpline at (800) 333-1795 (English and Spanish), signing up online at www.godirect.org (English) and www.directoasucuenta.org (Spanish), or visiting their local bank or credit union.
Evacuees seeking information about their next Social Security payment should contact their local Social Security Administration office.