GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Millions of Americans still receiving Social Security benefits through the mail have less than two months to switch over to electronic payments. In an effort to cut costs, the federal government is doing away with paper checks.
No more paper checks is no problem for Ronald O'Dill. He switched his Social Security payments to direct deposit a few years ago.
"It's more convenient," O'Dill said. "Rather than taking my check and going to the bank, I got a checking account, I just use a debit card which is easier."
Effective March 1st, the federal government will stop printing checks on paper. Those receiving benefits need to apply for direct deposit into their checking or savings accounts, or sign up for a pre-paid "Direct Express" debit card.
Ron Niesing helps people apply for benefits at Green Bay's Aging and Disability Resource Center.
"We've directed people to probably go visit their bank and fill out the direct deposit form or they can do it online and it's taken care of," Niesing said.
The move is expected to save the government nearly $5 million a year.
"I would say the majority of people we see here already do have direct deposit," Niesing said.
The same goes for the rest of the state. According to data from the Social Security Administration, 95% of those receiving benefits in Wisconsin get them electronically.
"They don't have the check sitting in their mailbox, it could be stolen," Niesing added. "They don't have a check that's coming through the mail where the mail might be lost of misdirected."
"It's easier," said O'Dill. "The money is already in my accounts."
If you want more information on how to apply for benefits,click here.