The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued
a final rule to "extend the safety and convenience of electronic payments to all Americans receiving federal benefit and non-tax payments. Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper checks will need to switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013."
Eight in ten federal benefit recipients already use direct deposit; the new rule is designed to push the other 20% over the line to electronic payments. The move is expected to save Social Security $1 Billion.