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Chances are, if you receive Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income or any federal payment, you receive it electronically.

More than 90 percent of people getting monthly Social Security benefits already receive electronic payments.

If you don't yet, that's about to change.

A U.S. Department of Treasury rule does away with paper checks for most federal benefit and nontax payments by March 1, 2013. With a few exceptions, this mandate includes Social Security, SSI, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other nontax payments.

People required to switch have the option of direct deposit to a bank or credit union account, or they can have their monthly payment directed into a Direct ExpressÆ debit card account (Treasury's debit card program).

For more information, visit www.godirect.org.

So, why the push for electronic payments instead of paper checks received in the mail?

* It's safer: no risk of checks being lost or stolen.

* It's easy and reliable: no need to wait for the mail or go to the bank to cash a check.

* It saves taxpayers money: no cost for postage, paper and printing. Treasury estimates this will save taxpayers $1 billion over 10 years.

* It's good for the environment: it saves paper and eliminates the need for physical transportation.

If you still get your check in the mail, don't wait for the new rule to go into effect next year. Sign up for electronic payments now.

Visit godirect.org today to begin getting your Social Security and SSI payments the safe, easy, reliable way - electronically.

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