Seniors warned - Social Security checks no longer in the mail
Social Security Payouts
The Senior Assistance Center and AgeOptions offer additional information on changing from paper Social Security check to electronic payment systems.
7774 W. Irving Park Road
1048 W. Lake St.
Information also is available on the Social Security Administration’s
website — www.socialsecurity.gov — and the Treasury Department website — www.godirect.org.
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:04AM
NORRIDGE — The federal Social Security Administration, with few exceptions, no longer will be issuing paper checks.
The switch, which begins with the March 1 checks, is due to a federal Department of the Treasury initiative to do away with checks for all federal benefits programs, according to Carmen Moreno, regional communications director of the Social Security Administration’s Chicago office.
“It’s basically a cost-saving measure,” she said, adding that the move will save $120 million per year by eliminating postage, paper and printing costs. The change from paper to direct deposit takes between 30-60 days to process.
The Social Security Administraion has been encouraging individuals who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income checks to switch to direct deposit.
“It’s a safer way to do business,” Moreno said. “You may have inclement weather, or there may be a delay in the mail. “
Anne Bannon, case management supervisor for Senior Assistance Center in Norridge, stressed the safety angle.
“Checks are easier to steal through the mail,” she said. “Switching is better for everyone.”
The center, which serves residents of Norridge, Harwood Heights and unincorporated Norwood Park Township, has been touting the change in its newsletter, Bannong added.
“We wanted to make sure people were aware,” she said. “February is the last check by mail.”
The change in payment method calls for each recipient to sign up either for direct deposit or to receive a debit card.
Maribeth Stein, outreach specialist at AgeOptions, said trust is a stumbling block to switching for many of the people she has counseled.
The non-profit agency at 1048 W. Lake St. in Oak Park serves residents of suburban Cook County.
“For whatever reason, some people don’t trust banks, or technology,” Stein explained. “Change can be scary. It’s an educational process.
“We help facilitate the options by walking the person through the process.”
Recipients who do not sign up for direct deposit will receive a Direct Express card, similar to a debit card, with benefits added monthly.
Stein discouraged that option.
“It’s a matter of safety,” she said. “With the paper check, you could put the money at home and just take $20 with you when you go out.
“With the card, you carry the entire amount with you. It’s a matter of vulnerability. “