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U.S. Senate decalares February “Go Direct Month”

February 12, 2006

U.S. Treasury's Go Direct campaign urges Americans to use direct deposit for Social Security payments -- safer and easier than checks

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Senate issued a resolution declaring February "Go Direct Month." The official resolution supports the Treasury's campaign to motivate Americans who receive Social Security and other federal benefit checks to switch to direct deposit -- a safer, easier option.

The resolution, which was sponsored jointly by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), also urged Americans to learn more about direct deposit and to consider signing up for direct deposit of their Social Security or other federal benefits. It noted that direct deposit eliminates the risk of lost or stolen checks, helps protect against fraud, and gives people more control over their money.

The resolution also said that the Treasury receives about half a million calls each year regarding problems with paper checks, and that in 2004 about 70,000 Treasury-issued checks, worth $61 million, were illegally endorsed. It said direct deposit has generated about $5 billion in government savings since 1986, and that $120 million would be saved annually if everyone who currently receives federal benefit checks used direct deposit.

Go Direct champions a long-standing effort of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Banks to shift from paper payments to direct deposit. The campaign relies on trusted sources -- such as financial institutions and community-based organizations -- to reach senior citizens, disabled people and other federal benefit recipients where they live and work.

Throughout February, financial institutions, government leaders and community-based organizations nationwide will show their support for direct deposit by participating in Go Direct Month. The month is being observed with official proclamations from state and local governments, special events, activities and promotions geared toward informing people about the benefits of direct deposit and encouraging them to sign up.

Go Direct has established Web sites, (English) and (Spanish), where people can sign up online for direct deposit of federal benefits or get an enrollment form to mail in. The campaign also has toll-free numbers to help people sign up for direct deposit right over the telephone: (800) 333-1795 (English) and (800) 333-1792 (Spanish).

U.S. Department of the Treasury
Alvina McHale