Fraud, fees and SSD’s EFT program

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2013 | Social Security Disability

When an individual suffers from a long-term disability, develops a mental impairment later in life, is seriously injured in an accident or has any other disability that leaves them unable to work, Social Security Disability benefits are a place that they can turn.

Attorney representation is often sought in Missouri to help obtain these benefits, because the process is rarely described as an easy one. Obtaining the benefits doesn’t seem to be the only hurdle for recipients these days. Recent reports show that the switch to the Electronic Funds Transfer program is causing some problems of its own for recipients.

First, let us explain the EFT program. It is an initiative that has been in motion since the mid 1990s, with a goal of eliminating distribution of benefits through paper checks. By March of 2010, approximately 85 percent of paper check recipients had already been converted over. 

Part of the reasoning behind the switch was a fear that the paper checks were being lost or stolen. However, the EFT system has been in place for only a short time and already there are reports of fraud and theft after scammers prompted recipients to share their personal financial information.

Blatantly illegal scams are certainly a problem, but there is another less obvious finanicial hurt. It is being caused by the fees that have become associated with electronic payments. When recipients try to go used the money, they are charged ATM withdrawal fees. Online, they are charged money transfer fees and bill payment fees. 

These issues were brought to light as a pressing matter by a Senate Special Committee on Agining. The committee hopes that the information will be used by the Social Security Administration and Treasury to help find ways to better protect the interests of recipients. 

Source: Main Street, “Are Fees, Fraud Eating Away at Your Social Security?” Shelby Bremer, July 1, 2013

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