Relax. It's not what you think. Social Security is still here. But it has officially taken another step into the electronic age. We recently blogged about how the Social Security Administration (SSA) was suspending annual benefit statements this year and cutting the number of recipients of annual statements beginning next year as a cost-saving measure. Well, they are still looking for other ways to cut costs and found another. They rolled it out this past month. May 2011 was the first month where any new Social Security applicant had to choose an electronic payment method. The SSA also announced that anyone currently receiving their federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit no later than March 1, 2013.
Along with the high-tech move came a high-value announcement that this decision would save taxpayers roughly $1 billion over the next decade. Aside from the U.S. Postal Service (and perhaps a few retirees set in their ways), we should all find this as welcome news. Every penny counts, especially given the current state of our entitlement programs.
The SSA has issued some press releases and public service videos, including a website at http://www.godirect.org/ that is intended to assist new applicants and current retirees affected by the changes.
For once, leaving a paper trail behind seems like a wise move.