All federal benefit payments will be electronic by March 1, 2013. People applying or federal benefit payments must choose an electronic payment option – direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or to a Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card. People currently getting benefit checks are required to switch to an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013. People who have not chosen an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013, will be out of compliance with the law and may receive their money via the Direct Express® card.The move to all-electronic federal benefit payments provides significant savings to American taxpayers who will no longer incur the $120 million price tag associated with paper checks. Electronic payments also are safer, easier and more convenient for benefit recipients. The Go Direct® campaign is helping federal benefit recipients sign up for, or transition to, electronic payments. 


Both direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or a Direct Express® card are safe, easy ways to get federal benefit payments.They eliminate the risk of stolen checks, help protect people from financial crime and provide them more control over their money.Direct deposit and the Direct Express® card give people immediate access to their funds from virtually anywhere.Problems with electronic payments are fewer and measurably easier to track and resolve than problems with mailed checks. 


People who get Social Security, VA, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement Board, Department of Labor (Black Lung) and Office of Personnel Management benefit checks.The Treasury Department will grant exceptions to the rule only in rare circumstances.


Anyone applying for federal benefit payments must choose an electronic payment method from the start, while those currently receiving paper federal benefit checks must switch by March 1, 2013. 


People applying for federal benefit payments must choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for the benefit. This will ensure they get their benefit payments in the safest, most reliable way possible – and avoid the inconvenience of making the switch later.To get benefit payments by direct deposit into an existing financial institution account, people should be prepared with the following information for a smooth enrollment:Account type: checking or savingsAccount numberFinancial institution’s routing numberTo sign up for the Direct Express® card, people should notify their federal benefit agency at the time of enrollment. Once approved for federal benefits, they will receive their Direct Express® card and an information packet in the mail.People who currently receive federal benefits by paper check, should make the switch today to get their money a safer, more reliable way immediately.If the benefit recipient has a bank or credit union account, they should sign up for direct deposit online, or by calling (800) 333-1795, or visiting their local bank/credit union branch or federal benefit agency office.If the benefit recipient prefers a prepaid debit card or doesn’t have a bank account, they can call (800) 333-1795, or notify their local federal benefit agency.