Some Seniors Are Resisting Move to Electronic Social Security Payments

Glenn Smallwood does not have a cell
phone, computer, or credit card. Nor does he have a bank account. And
that’s exactly the way he likes it. “I guess you could say I’m an old
fuddy duddy,” Smallwood, 63, a semi-retired insurance salesman in
Clearwater, Fla., told ABC News. “I’m set in my ways. I don’t want my
money in a bank. I keep my money in my pocket.” So when Smallwood
received a notice from the U.S. Treasury Department informing him that
as of March 2013, his Social Security checks would be directly deposited
into his bank account –or he could enroll in the government’s Direct
Express Debit MasterCard program– he was decidedly unhappy. “I don’t
think the federal government has the right to tell me that I have to
have a checking account or a debit card,” Smallwood said, adding that he
cashes checks at Wal-Mart, pays his rent by money order, and has no
plans –or desire– to stop.

Smallwood lives in one of the nation’s
10 million households that are unbanked, according to figures from the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). While waivers are
automatically granted for anyone who was 90 years old or older on May 1,
2011 –as well as people living in remote locations or those who are
mentally incapable of handling their own affairs– Dick Gregg, the Fiscal
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, acknowledged that these waivers
are rare. “Most individuals that receive checks will drive to a local
bank to cash them and individuals with mental impairments will designate
a representative payee that will sign up for electronic payment,” he
said.

Source/more: ABC News

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