January 11, 2010

Social Security Disability Benefit Payments Going Paperless?

mailbox.JPGIndiana residence who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments may not be aware of the most recent announcement by the Treasury Department that disability checks may become completely paperless.  In December of 2010, the Treasury Department announced that government issued checks to SSDI or SSI recipients will begin going paperless as of May 1, 2011.  Many Indianapolis disability benefits recipients may wonder why the Treasury Department made this decision and how this will effect the disability recipient.

Why did the Treasury Department decide to go paperless with disability payments? Currently, approximately twenty percent (20%) of disability claimants still receive their disability payments by check.  Many factors go into making this decision.  First and foremost, the greatest benefit of going paperless to the SSDI or SSI recipient is that it will eliminate the risks of lost and stolen checks, and provides the disability recipient immediate access to their money on payment day.  From a government standpoint, there will be great savings to the government by going paperless.  The paperless effort is projected to save the Social Security Administration (SSA) roughly $1 billion dollars over the next ten years. This will be beneficial to taxpayers because the SSA spends approximately $120 million each year to mail paper checks to the SSDI and SSI benefits recipients.

How will the SSDI or SSI benefits recipients, who are currently receiving their payments by checks, be affected?  Because the paperless effort is going into effect on May 1, 2011, the Treasury Department is going to require SSDI and SSI recipients to arrange for an electronic direct deposit account by March 1, 2013.  Disability benefits recipients will be offered an educational program by the Treasury Department to guide them through this process.  This national program will be directly related to the switch to electronic payments.

How will these paperless payments be received?  Disability recipients will receive their payments either by direct deposit into a bank account or by a “Direct Express” debit card. Some may argue that this is not feasible for many older disability recipients who are lacking technical skills.   Although the original proposed regulations didn’t provide exceptions to the paperless effort, consumer advocates lobbied for the Treasury Department to make exceptions for those individuals that will be heavily burdened by the switch.   Since the original announcement, the Treasury Department has carved out some exceptions to the new paperless regulations.

Attorney Scott D. Lewis agrees that there seems to be many benefits to going paperless, especially because the number of Social Security disability recipients is continuously increasing, but there are still great concerns for his clients that are lacking technology skills to make this transition.  As an Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney, Scott Lewis recommends his SSDI or SSI claimants to take advantage of the educational programs offered by the Treasury Department to make a successful switch from paper checks to the new paperless system.

If you or someone you know is applying for Social Security disability benefits, or have already been denied disability benefits, contact Attorney Scott D. Lewis at (317) 423-8888 for a free consultation regarding your claim.  Mr. Lewis and his staff are ready to assist you with your disability claim!

Filed under:Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
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