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The U.S. Treasury Department is Phasing out Paper Checks

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 01 Aug 2012 06:00pm | comments

The U.S. Treasury Department is phasing out paper check payments and requiring benefit recipients to get their money electronically.  MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports how the new mandate could affect more than one hundred thousand Mississippian's.

For the past 4 years Jackson resident Tirome O'Neal has received a monthly federal benefit check in his mailbox.

"I get it through the mail and go to the bank and get it cashed."

But those days of O'Neal waiting for his check to come to his home are about to come to an end.  That's because the U.S. Treasury Department is phasing out paper checks  and requiring anyone receiving Social Security, VA or other federal benefits to get their payments by direct deposit --- Yesterday at the Jackson Medical Mall O'Neal decided  to have his funds electronically wired to his new bank account. 

"Then I won’t have to pay that extra 2 or 3 dollars to get the check cashed. Them some more dollars can end up in my pocket."

Nearly 108 thousand Mississippian's still receive paper checks. Kelli Sharp with the Jackson Medical Mall says if benefit recipients don’t adhere to the federal governments GO Direct mandate they could face substantial fees. 

"March 2013 if anyone receives a federal benefit check via the mail you're gonna be sent a debit card automatically. But every time they  use that debit card they're gonna be charged from the folks who sent them the debit card and where they use that debit card. Now we're not saying when you open a checking or savings account with a local lender that fees won't be associated with it. But those fees will not be as high as they would be with this debit card issued with the federal government."

"We just encourage people to go direct deposit it's safe and it's convenient."

That's Barrie Carpenter, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. 

"We ask people to be cautious about scam 'cause there are scams anytime there are changes and new things occurring. And we also encourage them for social security, go on line, that's the best way to do business with us."

According to the GO Direct Website when recipients convert to electronic payments Mississippi could save more than a million dollars in processing fees. Lawayne Childrey. MPB News.





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