[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios has started an official countdown clock, marking one year until the March 1, 2013 deadline when all federal benefit recipients must receive their Social Security and other federal benefit payments electronically.

Currently, about 90 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are being made electronically.

Rosie Rios (Treasurer, United States): The switch to electronic payments is a win-win for federal benefit recipients and for taxpayers. It provides a safer, more secure, more convenient way for Americans to access their federal benefits, while also improving government efficiency and delivering more than $1 billion in savings.

The Treasury Department published a final rule in December 2010 to gradually phase out paper checks for federal benefit payments. Since May 1, 2011, all people newly applying for federal benefits, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other non-tax payments, have had to choose direct deposit or the Direct Express Debit MasterCard card at the time they sign up for their benefits.

March 1, 2013 is the final deadline by which all remaining federal benefit check recipients must receive their money electronically.