The Treasury Department hopes to convince more recipientsof federal benefits such as Social Security payments to sign up for directdeposit, instead of waiting for the check to arrive.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, theTreasury Department's Financial Management Service will issue more than 64million one-time $250 payments to Social Security, Supplemental SecurityIncome, Railroad Retirement and Veteran Affairs benefit recipients to maketough economic times a bit easier, the Treasury noted. An estimated 80 percentof these payments will be made electronically, leaving the remaining recipientsuntil April 20 to switch from checks to direct deposit before the firstdisbursements are made in early May.

Those individuals who switch to direct deposit willexperience safer, more secure delivery of their economic recovery payment, aswell as all future benefit payments, the Treasury said, and they will receivetheir payment sooner than those who wait for the mail delivery of a check.

"I know a lot of folks like seeing that paper checkin the mail - but with direct deposit, the money gets out faster and with moresecurity," said Vice President Joe Biden in a statement. "With theRecovery Act, we're trying to get money in people's pockets, but alsostreamline our government's processes and root out excess costs. Direct depositaccomplishes both those goals, so I urge all those receiving federal benefitseach month to sign up for it by April 20th."

"These $250 payments are a direct result of thisadministration's unprecedented effort to get the economy back on track."said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "When these payments begin nextmonth, the recipients already using direct deposit will save taxpayers anestimated $13 million in paper and postage costs. Today we're asking allAmericans to join the effort. Direct deposit is good for the government, goodfor the environment, and greatly enhances the security around benefit payments,protecting against check fraud and identity theft."

The Treasury Department is urging all federal benefitrecipients to switch to direct deposit, which it estimates would save taxpayersapproximately $130 million each year.

For more information, visit the Treasury Web site.


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