VA Benefits Go Paperless

The Treasury Department issued a new rule under federal regulation that all federal benefits go paperless.

Benefits, including Supplemental Security Income and Veterans Affairs payments, switch from checks to e-deposits or Direct Express debit card—electronic payments.

People receiving the benefits have about two years to sign up for the new system. However, the federal regulation does not affect federal agency pension payments, such as military retirement. Only payments made through the Treasury Department will see the change.

On the one hand, the new rule received praise for potentially saving American’s about $120 million a year in taxes associated with paper check costs, according to Treasury Fiscal Assistant Secretary Richard Gregg.

However, some critics think the bill causes problems for older Americans, especially veterans, who are not technology savvy.

So, the Treasury Department did include some exceptions in the rule. People age 90 and above, the mentally impaired and ones living in highly remote areas will continue to receive paper checks.

Even though there has been a significant rise in identity theft statistics perpetrated online and through electronic systems, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue feels the urgent change to the system prevents more occurrences of lost or stolen checks. Recipients would also have instant access to their benefits as opposed to waiting for the mail.

Anyone who applies for federal benefits now receives their payment through e-deposit on or after May 1, 2011. March 1, 2013 is the final deadline for recipients to sign up for the electronic payments.

However, Astrue urges people to make those changes now.

“I urge everyone receiving a paper Social Security or Supplemental Security Income check to switch to electronic payments now, through the Go Direct campaign, rather than waiting until the final deadline,” Astrue said in an announcement. “Switching now eliminates the risks of lost and stolen checks, and provides immediate access to your money on payment day.”

Recipients can go to the Go Direct website or call 800-333-1795 to update their payments to e-deposit.

Photo thanks to Money Blog Newz under creative common license on Flickr.

5 thoughts on “VA Benefits Go Paperless”

  1. Richard Valentine

    Hello, I am still concerned that I have benefits as a veteran for school which I am attending the University of Phoenix my third year, and now they want me to pay out of pocket for classes even though I have approval for a stafford loan and they have been paying my tuition every year until now, and I ask why? I was envolved in an auto accident a 11 months after being discharged from active service so now I am a veteran who is disabled. I’m not sure if it matters but my wife and I make about 71K per year combined and I am wondering if this has caused the Stafford loan to re-adjust itself. I really would like some input I guess and maybe find some fello veterans who might give me some tips on how I could qualify for some Grants or other sources to pay the remaining $9,600.00 for my bachelors degree, and the scholl UOP is wanting me to pay $980.00 every third semester until I am paid in full, so I would love to have the federal government or some other way to defer this. Thank You People so Much, Rick Valentine

  2. Richard,

    It does matter for Stafford loans. Subsidized Stafford loans are based on need, and when determining need, the systems takes into account total household income. Because of this, and your family’s income, it probably lowered the amount awarded.

    Grants and scholarships are also often need based, but sometimes they are awarded based on academic performance. Additionally, sometimes, the method of proving financial need here isn’t as simple as showing tax returns. Some scholarships request essays explaining your need. Check with your financial aid department to get some directions on where to find scholarship applications. When looking, think of all sorts of criteria, age, ethnicity, major, community service, if you’re the first generation in your family to get a 4yr degree, etc. There are lots of scholarships out there for some very random things. They don’t all have big dollar amounts, but every little bit adds up.

    Also, and probably most importantly. If you are attending the University of Phoenix completely online you are now able to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay for some things. Most notably is the housing allowance. This took effect August 1st. Start here: and take it step by step through applying for the GI Bill. Note though, that you are only eligible for the GI Bill for 10 years after you leave service.

  3. We applied for a VA Mortgage but we were told we needed 10k down and then were turned down because I have no credit history. Do all the resources have different regs?

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