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Sign up to Get Your Federal Benefits Electronically by March 1

If you receive your federal benefits by paper check, you’ll need to switch to electronic payments by March 1, 2013.

The federal benefits affected are:

  • Social Security
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Railroad Retirement Board
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Department of Labor (Black Lung)

You have two options for receiving benefits electronically:

1. Direct Deposit: The U.S. Treasury deposits your benefits directly into your bank account. You can sign up for direct deposit in one of these ways:

  • Enroll online.
  • Visit your bank or credit union.
  • Call (800) 333-1795 (Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm ET).
  • Contact the local office of the agency providing your federal benefits.
  • Enroll by mail.

2. Prepaid Debit Card: The U.S. Treasury deposits your benefits directly to a debit card. This is an option if you don’t have a bank account and do not want to open one. You can request a debit card by calling (800) 333-1795 (Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm ET).

Be ready with the information you’ll need to set up your federal benefit payments by direct deposit or debit card.

If you have questions, call the Go Direct Helpline at (800) 333-1795.

According to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation more than 38,000 people haven’t claimed pension money they are owed, ranging in amounts from 12 cents to $1 million.

Find out if you’re owed pension money and learn about the process to get your benefits.

Find out if there is other money the government owes you.

Veterans who served in combat after Nov. 11, 1998 are eligible for extended health care for 5 years post discharge. Learn more about the benefits offered and find out how to apply.

Lifeline Program Helps Provide Phone Service to Low-Income Families

The Lifeline program helps low-income households get telephone service by providing discounts up to $10.00 a month on one basic monthly phone service (landline or wireless).

Currently, more than 17 million households are subscribed to Lifeline. In order to enroll in Lifeline, potential subscribers must demonstrate their eligibility by showing proof of income or participation in a qualifying program.

The Lifeline program is paid for by the Universal Service Fund (USF). According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “All telecommunications service providers and certain other providers of telecommunications must contribute to the federal USF based on a percentage of their end-user telecommunications revenues. These companies include wireline telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, and certain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers.”

Some consumers may notice a “Universal Service” line item on their telephone bills. This line item appears when a company chooses to recover its USF contributions directly from its customers by billing them this charge. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to customers. Each company makes a business decision about whether and how to assess charges to recover its Universal Service costs.

Learn more about the Lifeline program and see if you’re eligible.

How to Apply for VA Health Benefits

If you served in the active military, naval, or air service and were honorably discharged or released, you may qualify for VA health care benefits, including hospital services. Certain Reservists and National Guard Members may also qualify. Check your eligibility.

If you qualify, you can apply online or by phone, mail, or in-person. Learn more about all the ways you can apply.