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City Officials Challenge California Residents to Sign Up for Direct Deposit of Federal Benefits; U.S. Treasury's Go Direct Campaign Encourages Americans to Use Direct Deposit for Social Security Payments -- Safer and Easier than Checks.

SAN FRANCISCO & LOS ANGELES -- San Francisco City Treasurer Jose Cisneros and Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick are challenging Californians to sign up for direct deposit of their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The challenge is an effort by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks' Go Direct campaign to motivate more Americans to sign up for the safer, easier option of direct deposit.

Starting September 19 through October 19, City of Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick and San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros will each be reaching out across California to senior citizens and others who receive federal benefits to encourage them to sign up for direct deposit. The goal is to achieve 10,000 conversions during the 30-day period.

"California has the highest number of Social Security and SSI checks in the nation," said Jose Cisneros, Treasurer of the City of San Francisco. "With nearly 44,000 incidents of identity theft reported in our state last year, it's important that citizens take steps to protect themselves. Direct deposit of your Social Security or SSI check is a simple way to do that. With direct deposit your money goes straight into your account where it's safe and readily accessible on your payment day. That's why Ms. Chick and I challenge all residents who receive Social Security or SSI checks to Go Direct. It's fast and easy to sign up, and there's no better time than now to do it -- during the California Go Direct Challenge."

Currently in California, approximately 908,000 people receive federal benefit checks in the mail each month. If these checks were converted to direct deposit, it would save the government an estimated $8.4 million each year. Almost all money saved will remain in the Social Security Trust Fund -- a benefit to all Americans for years to come.

Go Direct has established Web sites, www.GoDirect.org (English) and www.DirectoASuCuenta.org (Spanish), where people can sign up online for direct deposit of federal benefits. The campaign also has toll-free numbers to help people sign up for direct deposit right over the telephone: (800) 333-1795 (English) and (800) 333-1792 (Spanish).
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 19, 2006
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