It used to be that the millions of people on social security and supplemental security income benefits will relieve a physical check each month via the United State Postal Service (USPS). There was several problems with millions of people receiving checks from the government each month. First, it cost the government a lot of money to print and Mail these checks each month and not all the checks make it to the recipients. Which means that they have to spend more money to reissue new checks, hoping the reissued checks will make it to their actual destination successfully. That was not the only issue with checks.
Recipients who did not get their checks have to endure expensive overdraft fees if bills that were scheduled in anticipation of the check arriving that did not make it. Social security recipients are mostly on fixed income so a delay in their checks or checks gone missing. That puts extra strain on them and brings unnecessary financial hardships that they don’t need.
In addition, those who are unbanked have to pay expensive check cashing fees to cash their checks which could be as high as $30 on some cases. For fixed income recipients, that’s an undue burden. Then you have a case where some of the checks were being stolen and cashed by thieves. Can you imagine getting your social security check stolen and then you have to call the social security administration about a check you did not receive only to find out it was stolen and illegally cashed by someone? Then you have to wait for them to investigate to confirm that you did not indeed cash the check before they reissue you another one. What a nightmare.
That’s why the decision by congress to pass a law requiring that all government benefit payments be made by electronic transfer was a great decision because it has several benefits. Apart from the cost savings the government will get from not having to issue paper checks, there are several benefits to the recipients themselves. First, they get their benefits payments on time, avoiding any overdraft fees that might be incurred due to checks or bills mailed in anticipation of an on time social security check. Then there is no risk of people stealing the checks or it going missing and causing further financial strain an people who are mostly dependent on their social security checks for all their monthly expenses.