The Best Way to Receive Federal Benefit Payments
Half of American caregivers make health-related decisions for a loved one, and a government survey finds an equal number help to manage the finances of the person needing their care. Yet, only 52 percent of caregivers receiving Social Security payments on behalf of the person they care for use direct deposit. Direct deposit is safer, easier and more convenient than getting a paper check in the mail. Yet despite the advantages, many people who rely on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) still get checks.
Direct deposit is the best way to receive Social Security and SSI payments. With direct deposit, the money goes straight into a bank account at the same time each month, giving recipients more control over their money. It eliminates the risk of stolen checks and forged signatures and helps protect recipients from identity theft. Plus, direct deposit provides people with immediate access to their money from virtually everywhere.
If every current federal benefit check recipient switched to direct deposit, it would save taxpayers about $130 million a year. If the Ohioans receiving checks (more than 18 percent of Ohio benefit recipients) would switch to direct deposit, there would be an annual savings of $4,864,890. Almost all the money saved remains in the Social Security Trust Fund, benefitting Americans for years to come.
It is easy to sign up for direct deposit. Just call the Go Direct helpline at 1-800-333-1795, visit www.GoDirect.org to sign up online or stop in to a local financial institution or Social Security Administration office to make the switch.
Social Security and SSI recipients without bank accounts can sign up for the prepaid Direct Express Debit MasterCard®. The Direct Express card is simple and easy to use. Your federal benefits will automatically be posted to your account on payment day each month. The card can be used to make purchases, pay bills and get cash at retail locations and ATMs, nationwide. Sign-up is free, no credit check is required, there are no monthly fees and most services are offered free of charge. If your card is lost or stolen, it will be replaced. The Direct Express card eliminates the need to carry large amounts of cash. To sign up, call toll free 1-877-212-9991 or visit www.USDirectExpress.com.
Direct deposit and Direct Express cards are a safe and convenient alternative to paper Social Security checks.
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Kinship Caregiver Information and Help Available
The KinshipOhio Web site, hosted by Public Children Services Association of Ohio, provides information for and about kinship caregiver families. The site includes pages on Statewide Supports, County Profiles, Advocacy, News and Resources. Its primary goal is to ensure all kinship caregivers are able to access available and needed supports. The Web site is part of a Kinship Navigator Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services received by seven Ohio counties.