Preparing For "Paperless"

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Their home's mailbox is where thousands of Social Security recipients have been used to finding their benefit checks.

That will change on March first, when the Social Security Administration becames the latest to go "paperless". At that point, Social Security will join thousands of businesses and other government agencies in making payments by electronic "direct deposit", rather than by check.
Still, thousands of West Virginians still wait for those checks every month.

"I'm sure we'll see a few people who will be resistant; I'm sure the government has a contingency for that," says Mike Dennis, Executive Director, Wood County Senior Citizens Association. "We haven't heard any complaints from anybody; everybody seems to be OK with the fact that this change is going to take place in the next few months."

Payments would be made directly to a recipient's bank account. An alternative, however, is providing them with a special debit card which they could use according to how much they receive in monthly benefits.

"I think the one thing we may find is that there are still people who don't have bank accounts. But I think people will find a way to make it work."

The Senior Citizens Center is helping local seniors make the transition to electronic payments. Already, Dennis says, some long-time check recipients have already done so.

The federal government stands to save a billion dollars during the next 10 years by electronic direct deposit than by mailing checks individually.

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