WASHINGTON (5/19/10)--National Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 23-29, and credit unions, as well as other financial institutions, can help federal benefit check recipients by urging them to switch from paper checks to electronic payments. The U.S. Treasury Department is particularly urging federal benefit check recipients living along the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard to disaster-proof their money by switching to direct deposit. The Treasury promotes direct deposit through its national Go Direct campaign. According to Treasury research, eight in 10 Americans understand that direct deposit is more reliable in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane. However, Treasury says, about 10.5 million senior citizens, people with disabilities and others who receive federal benefit payments still rely on paper checks for their monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Additionally, approximately 2.7 million Social Security and SSI checks are sent to people living in hurricane-prone states each month. Before hurricane seasons starts, Treasury’s Go Direct direct deposit campaign is urging its national partners, such as the Credit Union National Association and credit unions, to spread the word about the benefits of electronic checks. Go Direct notes that a recent report from the Colorado State University hurricane research team predicts that the Atlantic hurricane season will be stronger this year than in recent years. Leading researchers anticipate an above-average eight hurricanes this year, four of them major, posing a threat to the U.S. coastline. Use the resource link below for disaster preparedness tools.