Social Security Payments to Go Paperless Beginning May 1

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Social Security checks are going paperless beginning May 1, as the U.S. Treasury Department retires paper checks for electronic payments.

The cost-saving measure, which won't be fully implemented until May 2013, is aimed at reducing government expenses by $1 billion over the next decade as millions of baby boomers and others apply for monthly federal benefits. Federal benefits will also be paid electronically to recipients of veterans and disability payments, the Treasury Department announced Friday.

Eighteen million baby boomers are expected to go onto the retirement rolls in the next five years.

Direct deposit has long been an option for Social Security recipients and others, and in fact, most recipients of federal checks already get payments electronically.

But electronic payments are still precarious to some, especially Depression-era babies who never learned to trust banks. Currently, 11 million people still get government checks in the mail.

U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios will be rolling out the new system next week in anticipation of the May 1 turnover.