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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: More testimony on Ohio's "anti-protest" bill; and we'll take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Social Security in North Dakota Goes Paperless on March 1

PHOTO: Social Security benefits go paperless as of March 1st. Recipients can either choose direct deposit or they can receive a Direct Express Debit MasterCard. Courtesy U.S. Treasury.
PHOTO: Social Security benefits go paperless as of March 1st. Recipients can either choose direct deposit or they can receive a Direct Express Debit MasterCard. Courtesy U.S. Treasury.
February 14, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. - A big change is on the way for those North Dakotans who still receive paper checks for their Social Security benefits. All federal payments will be made electronically beginning March 1.

"That includes Social Security, Supplemental Security Insurance, veterans' benefits, all federal payments will be done electronically," said Maribeth Farringer, executive director of the Council on Aging of Greater Nashville.

In North Dakota, more than 7,000 people still receive paper Social Security checks and another 32,000 receive SSI paper checks. Those who do, she said, have several options for setting up their electronic payments.

"They can go online at godirect.org. They can do it in person, if they're going to have the money deposited into a checking account at a bank or credit union. Or they can go by phone to the Treasury Department, and that number is 1-800-333-1795."

Recipients can either choose to have their benefits deposited directly into a bank account or receive them on a Direct Express Debit MasterCard. The debit-card method carries some concerns, Farringer said, including the fear that some may think it's a credit-card solicitation and throw it away.

"Another concern with the debit card, making us think this is not the best option for everyone, is they will only be allowed four transactions without a fee," she said. "After that, there will be a small fee for each additional transaction within a month."

A fee also is assessed if the card is lost and needs to be replaced. The change to all-electronic payments is expected to save the government $1 billion over the next 10 years. It's also expected to help cut down on theft of benefit checks.

More information is online at godirect.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND