For many people, Social Security payments play an important role in their financial lives. While direct deposit has become the preferred method of receiving payments, some recipients might still prefer to receive a mailed check. If you’re wondering whether Social Security still mails checks, or if it’s even possible to receive paper checks, we’ve got the answers for you.
The Short Answer
Yes, Social Security still mails checks. In fact, those who started receiving Social Security before May 1, 2011 and did not sign up for direct deposit are still receiving their payments via mail.
What is Direct Deposit?
Direct deposit is a safe and secure way to receive your Social Security payments electronically. By choosing direct deposit, your payments will be deposited directly into your bank account on the designated payment date. This eliminates the need to wait for a check to arrive in the mail and reduces the risk of a lost, stolen or damaged check.
What if You Started Receiving Social Security After May 1, 2011?
If you started receiving Social Security payments after May 1, 2011, you are required to receive your payments electronically, either through direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®. You can sign up for direct deposit through your bank or credit union or by calling the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213.
Can You Still Receive a Check if You Started Receiving Payments Before May 1, 2011?
If you started receiving Social Security payments before May 1, 2011 and did not sign up for direct deposit, you will still receive your payments in the mail. However, the SSA encourages those who are still receiving paper checks to switch to direct deposit for the reasons mentioned above.
What is the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®?
The Direct Express® Debit Mastercard® is a prepaid debit card that is an alternative to direct deposit for those who do not have a bank account or do not want to sign up for direct deposit. Once your Social Security payments are deposited into the card, you can use it to make purchases, pay bills or withdraw cash from ATMs.
How Do You Sign Up for the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®?
You can sign up for the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard® by calling the Direct Express® card enrollment center at 1-800-333-1795 or by visiting www.USDirectExpress.com. You will need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, and other personal information to enroll.
How Long Does it Take to Receive Your Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®?
It can take up to 14 business days to receive your Direct Express® Debit Mastercard® in the mail after enrolling.
Can You Still Change Your Payment Method if You Already Receive Checks?
Yes, if you currently receive paper checks and would like to change to direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®, you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security website to sign up.
What Happens if Your Check is Lost, Stolen or Damaged?
If your Social Security check is lost, stolen or damaged, you can request a replacement check by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office. However, if you sign up for direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®, there is no risk of a lost or stolen check.
What if You Move?
It is important to notify the SSA if you move. This ensures that your payments continue to be sent to the correct address. If you receive paper checks and move, you will need to notify the SSA of your new address. If you have direct deposit or a Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®, your payments will automatically be deposited into your new bank account or mailed to your new address.
What About International Payments?
If you currently reside outside of the United States and receive Social Security payments, you can choose to receive your payment through either direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®. However, not all countries support either direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®, so you should check with the SSA to see what options are available in your country.
Why Switch to Direct Deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®?
As mentioned earlier, there are many benefits to signing up for direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®. These include:
- Eliminating the risk of a lost, stolen or damaged check
- Having your payment deposited directly into your bank account or debit card on the designated payment date
- Accessing your funds immediately, without having to wait for a check to clear your bank
- Being able to easily manage your account and track your payments online
The Bottom Line
While Social Security still mails checks to those who prefer it, direct deposit and the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard® are the preferred methods of receiving payments. They offer many benefits that paper checks do not, including increased security and faster access to funds. If you’re still receiving paper checks, consider switching to direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit Mastercard® to have more control over your finances.
Common Questions and Answers
- Q. Can I receive Social Security payments if I live outside of the U.S.?
- A. Yes, you can receive Social Security payments if you live outside of the United States. However, the way you receive your payments may be different depending on where you live.
- Q. If I switch to direct deposit, will I still receive a paper statement?
- A. No, you will no longer receive a paper statement. Instead, you can view your payment information online through your my Social Security account.
- Q. How do I sign up for a my Social Security account?
- A. You can sign up for a my Social Security account on the Social Security Administration website. You will need to provide personal information such as your date of birth and Social Security number to register.
- Q. Can I have my Social Security payment deposited into someone else’s bank account?
- A. Yes, you can have your Social Security payment deposited into someone else’s bank account if you choose. However, you will need to have their permission and provide their bank account information to the SSA.
- Q. What should I do if I think someone is using my Social Security number?
- A. If you think someone is using your Social Security number, you should contact the Social Security Administration immediately. You can also report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission.