About the Go Direct® Campaign

The Go Direct campaign was initiated by Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks in 2005 to encourage federal benefit check recipients to switch to direct deposit. The campaign effort became a public education campaign in 2010 with the posting of 31 CFR Part 208, Treasury’s regulation that required electronic federal benefits.  While the campaign is no longer actively working to inform Americans about the requirement, this website remains a resource for compliance efforts, and it is operated by Treasury’s Financial Management Service.

What:

March 1, 2013, was the implementation date for 31 CFR Part 208, Treasury’s rule requiring electronic payments. People still receiving paper checks or applying for federal benefit payments must choose an electronic payment option – direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or to a Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card.

Why:

Both direct deposit to a bank or credit union account and a Direct Express® card are safe, easy ways to get federal benefit payments.

  • Electronic payments eliminate the risk of stolen checks, help protect people from financial crime and provide them more control over their money.
  • Electronic payments give people immediate access to their funds from virtually anywhere.
  • Problems with electronic payments are significantly fewer and measurably easier to track and resolve than problems with checks. 

Who:

This rule affects people who get Social Security, VA, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement Board, Department of Labor (Black Lung) and Office of Personnel Management benefit checks.

The Treasury Department will grant exceptions to the rule only in rare circumstances.

When:

As of March 1, 2013, all federal benefit payments were required to be made electronically.

How:

People who still receive paper checks or applying for federal benefit payments must choose an electronic payment option. This will ensure benefit recipients get their payments in the safest, most reliable way possible.

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