The Social Security program is undergoing several changes in 2011. One seemingly benign change is that new recipients will be required to utilize direct deposit or have their payments loaded onto a prepaid Debit MasterCard (existing retirees have until March 2013 to make the switch). No more paper checks…a fact which will put a smile on the face of many environmentalists who cringe at the thought of all those sacrificed trees. But there is another pretty substantial benefit as well. According to Richard Gregg, Treasury Fiscal Assistant Secretary, taxpayers will no longer incur the annual $120 million price tag associated with paper checks. This will save Social Security $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Not a bad trade off. It might be worth looking into whether a few of the other government “mailer” programs would benefit from a similar policy.