(CNN) -- The U.S. government has decided on a date that it will stop mailing certain benefits checks.
Those applying for Social Security and some other benefits by May 1, 2011, will now get their checks electronically, the Department of the Treasury said Tuesday.
And those who already get those benefits will have to set up a way to get their checks through direct deposit by March 1, 2013.
"Eight in 10 federal benefit recipients already use direct deposit, and now millions of additional retirees, veterans and other Americans will also receive their money in the safest, most reliable way, electronically," said Treasury Fiscal Assistant Secretary Richard L. Gregg.
"This important change will provide significant savings to American taxpayers who will no longer incur the annual $120 million price tag associated with paper checks and will save Social Security $1 billion over the next 10 years."
The Treasury says it is launching an education campaign to help people make the transition to paperless benefits payments.
"Switching now eliminates the risks of lost and stolen checks, and provides immediate access to your money on payment day," said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security.
The federal benefits included in this change are Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board and Office of Personnel Management payments, the Treasury said.