Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Benefits payments going paperless by 2013

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

The Treasury Department will announce on Monday that most government benefits payments will be made by direct deposit by 2013, the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves by the Obama administration.

The change will eliminate about 136 million paper checks sent by the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board and Office of Personnel Management and caps years of efforts to cut back on paper and postage costs.

The move should cut about $48 million dollars in government postage costs and save taxpayers approximately $303 million in the first five years after the switch, Treasury said.

Americans who enroll for benefits payments on or after March 1, 2011 will receive them by direct deposit or be enrolled in the government's Direct Express Debit MasterCard program if they do not provide bank account information. Beneficiaries now receiving payments will switch to direct deposit or the debit card by March 1, 2013, after agencies inform them of the changes, according to the proposed rule change set for publication in Monday's Federal Register. About one million Americans already receive benefit payments through the Direct Express card, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Officials argue that direct deposits or the debit cards ensure the safe, quick delivery of funds and make receiving payments easier for residents impacted by natural disasters. The change just so happens to fit nicely with the Obama administration's ongoing efforts to address the soaring deficit and adapt government operations to new technology.

“This is precisely the type of smart, streamlined improvement that this administration is committed to making across government to boost efficiency and modernize how we do business,” OMB Director Peter R. Orszag said in a statement.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined President Obama's Sunday golf game at Andrews Air Force Base. Review of some classic career-ending gaffes. Newly released Elena Kagan papers show her flair for the political and is it good or bad that she was once a Supreme Court clerk? Should Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas run for president in 2012? Former solicitor general Ted Olsen's work to overturn gay-marriage ban surprises conservatives. Confirmation hearings for the new intelligence director may center on the role of the job.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
'Don't ask, don't tell' law's expected repeal creates strange state of limbo: There's a subtle, but significant, change taking place throughout the military even before the expected repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

Defense industry braces for cuts: The defense industry went through a wave of consolidations in the 1990s following the post-Cold War drawdown. Defense budgets effectively doubled over the past decade. Now companies are worried again.

FEDERAL BUDGET:
Obama pleads for $50 billion in state, local aid: He defended last year's huge economic stimulus package, saying it helped break the economy's free fall, but argued that more spending is urgent and unavoidable.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Ex-congressman John Doolittle: Justice Department has closed case against him: He retired two years ago and an official told his attorney of the development last week.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
U.S., Cuba to hold immigration talks: The talks scheduled for Friday are intended to monitor adherence to a 16-year-old agreement under which the U.S. issues 20,000 visas to Cubans a year.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT:
TARP repayments exceed outstanding bailout debt, Treasury says: Banks have returned $194 billion, topping the $190 billion in TARP funds still outstanding.

TSA:
New concerns arise over body scanners: Aviation security experts say the machines may miss items that metal detectors catch. Airline passengers may also be able to hide materials in the groin or body cavities.

Unions unfazed by TSA nominee's punt on collective bargaining: Leaders said there is support for TSA collective bargaining rights at the highest levels of the Obama administration.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 14, 2010; 5:55 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama will demand BP establish escrow account to handle oil spill claims
Next: OMB's Zients cutting through red tape

Comments

Another blow to the Postal Service....

Posted by: susandix | June 14, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I fully agree with susandix, but what I want to know is, "When is the pork going to be cut and instead of millions of dollars I want to see posted the billions that would be saved from the hussein administration?"

Posted by: bwise1948 | June 14, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

2013? It takes the government three years to figure out direct deposit?

Posted by: win_harrington | June 14, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Direct Deposit? For some, but not all? Why are ALL federal payments not direct deposit. One answer is that "illegal aliens" have their checks sent to friends, checks are then endorsed, partial funds sent to intended recipient living in Mexico with her kids...let's clean the entire house, not just the few rooms. Too much fraud going on in the house, total clean up is the only way to go..THE PATRIOT

Posted by: SaveUSA | June 14, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I think you need to see the big picture when it comes to direct deposit for taxpayers who may be elderly or sick. First, let's think about all the fees that banks, and all other financial instutions will be charging these folks everytime they use the card. If you are on a fixed income such as SSA, can you really afford to pay a higher price at the gas pump (cash only gets the cheaper price), or a fee everytime you need to pay a bill or go to an ATM to get some cash. I see this as big profit for the banks. Plus, why can't an American citizen state how they want their money--now the gov't is demanding that you either have a bank account for direct deposit or have to have a gov't debit card. More government in our private lives which gives them more control. NO THANKS

Posted by: cherylrussell | June 14, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company