Understanding How Social Security Checks Work

In past years, Social Security checks were the only way Social Security Administration (SSA) program enrollees could collect benefits. However, this is no longer the preferred way for Social Security (SS) recipients to receive funds. In fact, March 1, 2013 was the deadline set for enrollees to switch from receiving paper checks to digital payments. This switch was made because, over time, it is significantly more expensive for the SSA to mail a paper Social Security check than issue an electronic transfer.

Social Security distribution is a complex process. However, enrollees have two primary ways they can receive their benefits. As opposed to setting up SS direct deposit with personal bank accounts, recipients have another way to collect funds. The federal government allows enrollees to obtain Direct Express cards that are used to receive benefits.

What is the Social Security Direct Express card?

The Social Security Direct Express card is a safe way for you to receive your government retirement funds. In fact, this delivery method is considered to be safer and faster than traditional check distribution. When you apply for Social Security, you can request to receive your benefits using this method. If you use this card, you do not need to have a personal bank account or personal debit card in order to collect Social Security.

Benefits of Using a Social Security Direct Express Card

Social Security checks are risky, which is one of the reasons the U.S. government decided to stop using them. In the past, if you lost your check, it would be extremely difficult to have your benefits recompensated. However, if you use a Social Security Direct Express card or direct deposit system, it is easier to manage your SS. Additionally, these methods are extremely convenient. You do not need to deposit a check each month, and you can spend your benefits anywhere that accepts MasterCard.

How can I spend my Social Security payments?

You receive your benefits in accordance with the Social Security payment schedule. Once you have your funds in your account, you can begin making purchases. It is important that you remember you can use your electronic benefits the same way you would spend paper benefit checks. This means you can:

  • Make purchases at stores or online.
  • Withdraw cash from your account.
  • Pay bills by phone, online or in person.

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