As we've discussed in previous blog posts, the Social Security Administration announced not long ago that all checks, including disability benefits, would be sent electronically starting in March 2013. They've touted the change as one that will make things easier for recipients while saving tax payers $1 billion. However, not everyone is pleased with the change.
Electronic payments mean that checks will be either directly deposited into a bank account or put on a debit card, but 10 million homes in the U.S. are not affiliated with a bank. One 63-year-old man expressed his frustrations with the change in a recent article from ABC News.
He lives without a bank account, computer or cellphone and feels that the government is overstepping its bounds by taking away his freedom to choose if he wants any of those things.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some paper advocacy groups, like the Envelope Manufacturers Association, oppose the change as well. The executive director of Consumers for Paper Options says there are some documents and correspondences that should continue to be communicated on paper if consumers want it.
Currently, the SSA is not forcing anyone 90 or older to switch to electronic payments. They have also issued waivers to some who live in very rural areas. However, officials say that not many people will get a waiver.
As this change is implemented completely over the next few months, it will be interesting to see if any issues arise. People depend on their retirement and disability benefits, so hopefully the SSA will do all that they can to ensure that everyone gets their checks, one way or another.
Source: ABC News, "Some Seniors Resist Electronic Social Security Payments," Abby Ellin, Nov. 9, 2012