These days, almost everyone gets their benefit payment by direct deposit. Whether you receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can depend on your payment arriving in your account on time, every time. If you don’t already have direct deposit, there are good reasons to sign up. For one, less money and time spent driving to the bank to cash your check helps you save. Second, fewer paper checks, envelopes, and stamps, and less fuel to deliver the checks means less waste and pollution for the environment.
Whether you are a victim of flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, severe thunderstorms, or even earthquakes, the last thing you want is for your income to be interrupted because of an evacuation or a missing mailbox. With direct deposit, you know your payment will be in your account on time no matter what.
When on vacation, direct deposit ensures payments will be deposited into your account on time, so there’s no reason to worry about the safety of your benefit or to ask a neighbor to look out for your check when you are away.
As an added bonus, many banks offer free checking accounts for people who use direct deposit because it saves the bank the cost of processing paper payments. Plus, the payment probably will show up in your bank account sooner than a paper check will appear in the mailbox … and there’s no need to cash it. It’s already in the bank.
Skip the line at the bank, save money, get your payment faster, and know you can depend on your payment being in the bank no matter what. You can do all of this with direct deposit. Learn more about it at www.socialsecurity.gov/ deposit.
Be wary of scams
These days, everyone needs to be cautious of scams — Internet, mail, and even phone scams — which can damage your credit score and pocketbook. Any time someone asks for your personal information, you should be wary. Particularly cruel are swindles that target Social Security beneficiaries.
Recently, Social Security became aware of a scam targeting beneficiaries in the Southern California area. Scammers telephoned beneficiaries to tell them they were due a “stimulus payment.” The scammer offered to deposit the payment to each beneficiary’s account once the personal and bank account information was provided. The scammer then contacted Social Security by telephone to request the benefits be deposited into a new account — the scammer’s account, to steal the payments. In a similar version of this criminal ploy, the scammer calls the beneficiary to “confirm” the beneficiary’s personal and financial information.
As a rule of thumb, Social Security will not call you for your personal information such as your Social Security number or banking information. If someone contacts you and asks for this kind of information, do not give it.
You should never provide your Social Security number or other personal information over the telephone unless you initiated the contact, or are confident of the person to whom you are speaking. If in doubt, do not release information without first verifying the validity of the call by contacting the local Social Security office or Social Security’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Question: How can I calculate my own retirement benefit estimate?
Answer: Use the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. It produces estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record, so it’s a personalized, instant picture of your future estimated benefit. Also, you can use it to test different retirement scenarios based on what age you decide to start benefits. For example, you can find out your estimated monthly payments if you retire at age 62 or at age 70.