WASHINGTON, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As hurricane season approaches, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Go Direct campaign is advising Social Security check recipients who live along the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard to switch to direct deposit. The recommendation is aimed at safeguarding senior citizens and people with disabilities by ensuring seamless delivery of their federal benefit payments in the days following a hurricane or severe weather event. Currently, more than 3 million Americans living in hurricane-prone states still receive their federal benefit payments by paper check instead of direct deposit. By switching to direct deposit, people can protect themselves against disruptions in mail service and other factors that could delay the delivery of a paper check payment. People who receive federal benefits by check can switch to direct deposit by calling the Go Direct helpline at (800) 333-1795 (English and Spanish), signing up online at http://www.GoDirect.org (English) and http://www.DirectoASuCuenta.org (Spanish), or visiting their local bank or credit union. In the days and weeks following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, almost 85,000 emergency payments had to be issued. By contrast, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients already using direct deposit were able to access their funds immediately through automated teller machines, debit cards and financial institution networks around the country. In addition to safeguarding Americans from delays or disruptions, direct deposit protects federal benefit recipients from the devastating effects of financial fraud and identity theft. A recent nationwide Treasury-sponsored survey revealed that four in 10 respondents say they have been victims of identity theft or know someone who has. The survey also showed that nearly one in three respondents (31 percent) said they had had a check, important document or large sum of cash lost or stolen. By switching to direct deposit, Social Security and SSI recipients can eliminate the likelihood of a stolen check and help ensure the safety of their personal and financial information.
SOURCE U.S. Treasury's Go Direct Campaign