SSA Encourges Debit Cards for Benefits

The Chicago Tribune reports that for millions of Americans, getting a check in the mail from Social Security each month is a ritual.

But in the last year, theTreasury has been campaigning to get Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients to switch to a prepaid debit card.

The program, called Direct Express, is aimed primarily at the 4 million Social Security and SSI recipients who don’t have a regular bank account, but it’s available to anyone. The plastic card is automatically loaded with the amount of your monthly payment.

It’s billed as a safe, convenient way for consumers to get their government income while preventing fraud, theft and loss of checks.

Every year, the U.S. Treasury receives 1.4 million complaints from Social Security and SSI recipients.

“Those paper checks are problematic. They get lost, stolen or aren’t received on time,” said Phil Belisle, regional director of the U.S. Treasury’s financial center in San Francisco. “The debit card is a very safe alternative.”See full story here: