The government has decided to go paperless for Social Security and Welfare. Now people will get the money by direct deposit.
A rooster is crowing, and an alarm clock chimes. “Wake up, wake up, wake up, it’s the first of the month,” the rap song by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony goes. “To get up, get up, get up, so cash your checks and get up.”
Immortalized in rap songs, examined in books on inner city life and discussed on Facebook, the federal benefits check has developed into a social and cultural icon. The checks have generated a “first of the month” economy in some places, as lottery revenue increases and lines at liquor stores and discount retailers swell. And in some communities, the checks serve as security to borrow cars, get a loan or sleep for a few days in someone’s house in hard times, said Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia University.
But now, the days for such rituals are numbered.
In May, the government will no longer pay someone eligible for benefits with a mailed check. Instead, the money… continue reading
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