Beginning Friday, March 1, the federal government is phasing out paper social security checks for all benefit programs, forcing people to get electronic checks either through direct deposit or a debit card for those without a bank account.
The changes will affect people who get Social Security, veterans' benefits, railroad pensions and federal disability payments.
Currently, about 93 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are already paid electronically.
Treasury Department says the switch to electronic payments means taxpayer savings will total $1 billion over 10 years.
Electronic payments are safer than paper checks. In 2011, more than 440,000 Social Security paper checks were reported lost or stolen and had to be replaced - while $70 million worth of Treasury-issued checks were fraudulently endorsed in 2011.
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