U.S. Treasury Advises Social Security Check Recipients to Switch to Direct Deposit Before Hurricane Season

May 14, 2007, 01:00 ET from U.S. Treasury's Go Direct Campaign

    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
     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