Statement of Larry Massanari,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security
on Direct Deposit
As a result of the recent incidents involving our nationís mailing
system, the one question we are repeatedly hearing at the Social
Security Administration is, "Will I get my benefit payment?" I want
to assure the American public that these incidents have not adversely
affected the payment of Social Security or Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) benefits.
In addition, some understandable concerns have been expressed by
our beneficiaries about the safety of mailed Social Security and
SSI checks. For those who have these concerns, I want to encourage
them to use the most convenient and safest way for beneficiaries
to receive their paymentsóDirect Deposit.
Direct deposit presents many advantages. It eliminates concerns
about delayed mail. Direct deposit eliminates the need for frequent
trips to banks; payments are deposited automatically into accounts
and are readily available for immediate use. There is no need to
wait in long lines to cash a check or to worry when a visit to a
bank is impossible due to inclement weather or a lack of transportation.
And with direct deposit, the possibility of a stolen check is removed.
The only difference with direct deposit is that checks are not
printed or mailed. Currently, more than 50 million Americans receive
Social Security and SSI benefits. Of those, over 75 percent have
taken advantage of direct deposit.
Direct deposit presents an advantage for the government as well.
It costs the government 45 cents to process and mail a check while
it costs only 4 cents to send a payment by direct deposit. Last
year, direct deposit saved the Social Security Trust Funds approximately
Signing up for direct deposit is relatively simple and easy, just
call SSAís toll free number, 1-800-772-1213, or
visit the nearest local Social Security office. Banks, savings and
loan or credit unions can also help people sign up for direct deposit.
If for some reason, an individual does not have an account and
cannot open one at a bank, savings and loan or credit union, the
Department of Treasury has created special low-cost accounts available
to persons who receive a federal benefit. To find out where to open
one of these low-cost Electronic Transfer Accounts (ETA) individuals
should call 1-888-382-3311, toll-free or look for
the ETA logo in the financial institutionís window or lobby.
At the Social Security Administration, we understand that recent
incidents have raised concerns about changes in the way we have
traditionally lived our lives. We are doing everything that we can
to make sure our service is as dependable now as it has been for
over 66 years.
# # #
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS: A fact sheet about direct
deposit is available here.
of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information
are available at SSAs Internet site, Social Security
Online, at http://www.ssa.gov.
Also look there for information on subscribing to SSAs
free electronic newsletter, Social Security e-news.
SSA Press Office 4-H-9
West High Rise. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973