July 16, 2020

Social Security benefits recipients assured of timely mailed checks, direct deposits

The Social Security Administration is confident that Maine’s more than 240,000 recipients will have their checks on Monday.

“We’ve taken steps to assure that both direct deposit and mailed checks will be available on January 3,” said Michael Burke, district manager for the Social Security Administration in Augusta.

The Social Security Administration has been preparing for the so-called Year 2000 problem since 1989 when the possibility of a computer glitch was first noticed, the federal agency has reported. Since then, the agency has taken steps to ensure it can keep its commitment to the 50 million Americans who depend on Social Security or Supplemental Social Security each month.

The agency examined its information technology infrastructure, including 308 critical computer systems supported by 35 million lines of computer code. Programmers also checked out the 2,000 data exchanges the agency has with state governments, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System.

All systems are Y2K compliant, the agency says.

To make sure there would be no problems with the January 2000 checks, the Social Security Administration completed delivery of those checks and direct deposit payment files to the Treasury Department on Dec. 21, he said.

That means that banks and post offices have an extra day to begin processing the checks to make sure they will be available to recipients on Monday.

The checks will not be available earlier than usual.

Burke said Social Security staff will work through the holiday weekend to make sure there are no problems.

In the event that a recipient doesn’t receive a check on Monday, Burke said, that person should contact the local Social Security office. “If need be, we can issue an emergency check by hand from our local Social Security office,” he said.

If there is a problem with direct deposit, Burke said, his agency can work with the bank and can reroute checks to different branches.

Maine has more than 241,000 people who receive some form of Social Security benefit. Approximately 670,000 Maine residents work in Social Security-covered employment.

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