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Social Security Direct Express Card

If you or someone you know receives Social Security, you should be aware that a new option for receiving and managing benefits is coming soon.

Next month, the U.S. Department of Treasury will begin sending letters to Social Security beneficiaries regarding the new Direct Express debit card. The Direct Express is a prepaid card that converts Social Security funds into a more convenient form for beneficiaries. It is designed for easy use, including withdrawing cash at ATMs and bank branches, making online purchases, and paying bills.

The new debit card has the potential to save the government millions of dollars in administrative costs. It will also enable the roughly 4 million Social Security beneficiaries who do not have bank accounts to have more secure access to their Social Security funds.

According to the Department of Treasury, nine out of ten problems with Social Security payments are associated with paper checks. The debit card eliminates the need for paper checks, thereby eliminating the risk of having a check stolen.

Recipients can take cash out of an ATM once per month without paying a fee. Subsequent withdrawals from an ATM will require a fee of about 90 cents. However, recipients can get cash back from the grocery store, or use the card to get cash directly from a bank teller without paying a charge.

Recipients who sign up for Direct Express will also be able to sign up for a low balance notice. Under this program a recipient will be notified that his or her debit card account has a low balance. If a recipient is overdrawn, there is no extra fee. The overdrawn amount is simply taken out of the beneficiary’s next Social Security payment.

The Direct Express debit card is optional. Unless recipients register for it, they will continue receiving paper checks. If you are interested in using Direct Express, please call 1-866-675-5648. For further information on Direct Express, visit http://www.usdirectexpress.com/edcfdtclient/index.html.

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