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Wednesday May 1, 2002

Jim Courtney, Press Officer

For Immediate Release

410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

Social Security Online


News Release


Direct Deposit – It’s Safe, Convenient and Easy
(aquí en español)

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) is helping the Social Security Administration (SSA) deliver the message that Direct Deposit is a safe, convenient and easy way to receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

Through a series of television, radio and print ads, as well as bank statement inserts and teller handouts, members of the FDNY are reminding beneficiaries of the advantages of direct deposit.  The ads -- a partnership between SSA, U.S. Department of Treasury, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, NACHA-The Electronic Payments Association and the FDNY -- are being launched during May, National Direct Deposit and Direct Payment Month.

“Direct deposit presents many advantages,” said Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security.  “It eliminates concerns about delayed mail and the need for frequent trips to the bank.  Direct deposit removes the possibility of a lost or stolen check.  I cannot think of a better partner to help us deliver this message than the New York City Fire Department.  The FDNY is known around the world for its commitment to serving the public, in addition to its well-deserved reputation for bravery.”

With direct deposit, payments are deposited automatically into accounts and are readily available for immediate use.  There is no need to wait in long lines to cash a check or to worry when a visit to a bank is impossible due to inclement weather or a lack of transportation.

Direct deposit presents an advantage for the government as well.  It costs the government 45 cents to process and mail a check while it costs only 4 cents to send a payment by direct deposit.  Last year, direct deposit saved the Social Security Trust Funds approximately $133 million.

Currently, more than 50 million Americans receive Social Security and SSI benefits.  Of those, almost 40 million (nearly 80 percent) have already taken advantage of direct deposit.  Direct deposit has been available to Social Security beneficiaries since 1976.

Signing up for direct deposit is relatively simple and easy, just call SSA’s toll free number,

1-800-772-1213 (or 1-800-325-0778 for TTY users), or visit the nearest local Social Security office.  Banks, savings and loan or credit unions can also help people sign up for direct deposit.  Visit SSA’s website – – for more information on direct deposit.

If for some reason, an individual does not have an account and cannot open one at a bank, savings and loan or credit union, the Department of Treasury has created special low-cost accounts available to persons who receive a federal benefit.  To find out where to open one of these low-cost Electronic Transfer Accounts (ETA) individuals should call 1-888-382-3311, toll-free or look for the ETA logo in the financial institution’s window or lobby.


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SSA Press Office 449 Altmeyer Bldg. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

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