Iowa’s already a national leader in electronic filing of tax returns and the federal government hopes to get Iowans to do another task without the use of paper and stamps. While most Iowans get their monthly payments electronically from Social Security and the VA, thousands of paper checks still have to be mailed out every month.

U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios is hoping to trim those numbers down through a direct deposit program. Rios says, “Organizations such as AARP, Salvation Army, United Way, faith-based organizations, they’re going to help us get the word out to everyone to make sure they know this benefit program is available to them.” In March of 2013, the federal government plans to stop mailing paper checks for Social Security and other programs.

Rios says if direct deposit doesn’t work for you, there are paperless alternatives, like the Direct Express Debit MasterCard. For those who do not have a checking or a savings account or who chose to receive a debit card, once you enroll, you receive the card in the mail and you will use that card every month,” Rios says. “It will be loaded automatically with your payment and you can use that card the same way you would use any other debit card.”

In Iowa, about 93% of Social Security payments are already being made electronically, but federal benefit recipients in the state still receive nearly 44,000 paper check payments each month. You can sign up for the direct deposit alternatives by calling 800-333-1795 or online at: ““.