How the changes in delivering Social Security and other government benefits will work:
— Starting last year, new beneficiaries were required to electronically receive Social Security, veterans' benefits, railroad pensions and federal disability payments.
— By March 1, 2013, nearly everyone will be required to receive their payments electronically, mainly through direct deposit into a bank account.
— Those without bank accounts will be issued a Direct Express debit card, which will receive payments and can be used for purchases at retail stores and for cash withdrawals at ATMs.
— There will be no fees for debit card purchases but there will be fees for some ATM transactions.
— Beneficiaries who are age 90 or older won't be required to make the change. Others can apply for a hardship waiver but they will be granted only in "extreme, rare circumstances."
— The federal government issues 73 million benefit payments a month. About 90 percent of the payments already are done electronically, so about 7 million people will have to make the switch.
— For help or for more information, call (800) 333-1795 or go to www.godirect.org .