Government Benefits Go Paperless

Go Direct program begins March 1

By Andres Gutierrez
|  Friday, Mar 1, 2013  |  Updated 5:00 AM CDT
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The treasury department's Go Direct program will save the federal government money.

Andres Gutierrez, NBC 5 News

The treasury department's Go Direct program will save the federal government money.

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In just two days, a big change is coming for people who receive social security or other benefits as the government goes paperless.

People who currently receive checks from the treasury department like social security, retirement or military benefits are being forced to switch over to electronic payments. Payments will be made  either by direct deposit or direct express card, a debit card that can be used for everyday purchases.

The treasury department's new "Go Direct" program takes effect Friday, March 1.

Like so many senior citizens, 104-year-old Mary Shoemaker, a Dallas resident, relies on two sources of income. "I depend on social security and Medicare," she said.

But Shoemaker is now among the 300,000 Texans who haven't made the switch to go paperless.

There are the skeptics like Wanda Owens, who believes the safety and convenience still outweigh negatives.

"Well I don't have to worry about somebody taking it out my mailbox," Owens said.

Effie Davis' friends have opted for direct deposit.

"They like it, no standing in line or anything--at the bank--you just go and pay your bills,” Davis said.

If you do not choose an electronic payment by the deadline, you won't be cut off from receiving your benefits, the government says you may receive your payments via the direct express card.

CLICK HERE to learn how you can make the switch.

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