WASHINGTON (4/28/11)--The U.S. Treasury this week reminded federal benefit recipients that it will officially “retire” the use of paper checks for the payment of social security and other federal benefit payments on May 1. Individuals applying for Social Security or other federal benefits will begin receiving their payments exclusively via direct deposit at the start of next month. To sign up for direct deposit, eligible enrollees will need to know their financial institution's routing transit number, the type of account that the funds will be deposited into, and the account number. The payments will then be made to credit union accounts, bank accounts, or Direct Express Debit MasterCard card accounts, according to the U.S. Treasury. Those who lack bank accounts or who would rather use prepaid accounts can receive their benefits through a prepaid debit card. Individuals that choose this prepaid card route will need to notify their federal benefit agency. The Treasury has made new Go Direct campaign materials available to coincide with the May 1 transition date. Those materials include social media tips, a direct deposit checklist, and news briefs for credit unions, other financial institutions, and various community organizations. The Treasury began its Go Direct program, which encourages Americans to switch to direct deposit, in 2004. The Go Direct campaign notes that direct deposit enhances safety and convenience. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is a Go Direct national partner and supports the check-safety and cost-savings goals for the program.