The Department of the Treasury said Thursday that nearly 2 million Social Security recipients in 12 Western states will receive information this month about the option of receiving their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits via a prepaid debit card. The government has designed the program for people who do not have bank accounts and receive paper checks, which can be lost, stolen or delayed.
How does it work? The card – the Direct Express Debit MasterCard – is loaded each month by the Treasury, and recipients can make purchases, pay bills and get cash at thousands of ATM and retail locations nationwide. The card is issued by Comerica Bank.
Why use it? Approximately 4 million Social Security and SSI recipients nationally (approximately 600,000 in the Western states) do not have bank accounts and, until now, have had to rely on paper check payments, said Abbie Loftus, deputy regional director in the Treasury Department’s regional office in Emeryville. Nearly 859,000 paper checks are sent to California residents each month, Loftus said. In San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, nearly 145,000 paper checks are issued each month.
Last year, 700,000 paper checks were reported lost or stolen and were reissued, Loftus said.
See full article from the San Francisco Chronicle here