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Retirement checks rerouted

Retirement checks rerouted

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Social Security checks mailed to Montanans will now be routed through Billings instead of Great Falls.

The change was spurred by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who earlier this month asked the Postal Service, Social Security Administration and the U.S. Treasury Department to find the cause of the late mailings in November and December. Sending checks to Billings will allow the Postal Service's district manager to oversee receiving and distributing the checks. Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over Social Security, announced the routing change Friday.

Of 26,456 checks issued to Montanans in November, 12,770 were late. In December 3,257 checks were sent and 2,445 were late.

About a third of the checks delayed in November, and nearly half of the late checks in December, were issued to recipients in Billings.

The Postal Service has agreed to develop a plan to track Social Security checks from the time the agency receives the checks from the Treasury Department until they are placed in Montanans' mailboxes, Baucus said.

"I'm glad the Postal Service will closely monitor Social Security checks so Montanans don't have to wait anxiously for the checks they rely on every month, "Baucus said.

"I'll continue to monitor the situation to make sure these agencies do what's right for Montanans."

The 133,737 Montanans who use direct deposit were not affected by the mail delays. To sign up for direct deposit, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

People who don't have a bank account can receive a low-cost account, called an Electronic Transfer Account, from the Treasury Department by calling 1-888-382-3311 or on the Internet at www.eta-find.gov.

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