FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY FOR 4 WISCONSIN COUNTIES THROUGH 1 a.m. SATURDAY

All federal benefit checks delivered electronically by 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Starting next year, the check will no longer be in the mail for millions of people who receive Social Security and other government benefits.

The federal government issues 73 million payments a month, but is phasing out paper checks for all benefit programs. So beneficiaries will have to get payments electronically, either through direct deposit or a debit card for those without a bank account.

The changes will affect people who receive Social Security, veterans’ benefits, railroad pensions and federal disability payments.

Tax refunds are exempt, but the Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to get refunds electronically by processing those refunds faster than paper checks.

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