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Social Security payments to require direct deposit

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Starting next month, virtually all federal benefits, including Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are going to be paid electronically under U.S. Treasury Department rules with rare exceptions.

Federal officials have encouraged people for years to sign up for direct deposit of benefits as the most secure way to get delivery of their money, and starting March 1 it will become the only way for most recipients to be paid.

The move to all-electronic federal payments provides significant savings to taxpayers, who no longer will incur the $120 million price tag associated with sending out paper checks, Treasury officials said.

The Treasury Department will grant exceptions only in rare circumstances.

Automatic waivers are granted to people born on or before May 1, 1921, for instance. Check recipients living in remote areas without sufficient banking infrastructure may apply for a waiver, as well as check recipients for whom electronic payments would impose a hardship because of a mental impairment.

To learn more about signing up for direct deposit, go to on the Internet. Or call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at 1-800-333-1795. People seeking a waiver from the direct deposit rules also can call the same number.

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