Federal benefit payments (e.g., payments from the Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs) will transition entirely from paper to electronic form as of March 1, 2013. Federal benefit payments will be delivered electronically to recipients either by direct deposit via ACH or transfer to a Direct Express Debit MasterCard card, which is administered by Comerica Bank.
With an increase in direct deposit of federal benefit payments, it is important to keep in mind the 2011 interagency rule that places restrictions on the garnishment of certain federal benefit payments. The rule applies in instances where a bank or credit union receives a garnishment order. Click here for the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Final Rule Analysis of the interagency garnishment rule.
Treasury’s Go Direct campaign is a good resource for information on the transition to all-electronic payments. The Partners section of GoDirect.org includes additional information and free materials, including a checklist of partner activities.