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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#1
Jan 7, 2013
 
DEAR ABBY: Please help me spread an important message to people who receive Social Security or other federal benefits each month via one of the estimated 5.4 million paper checks each month. Starting March 1, 2013, the Treasury Department is requiring all Social Security, VA, SSI and other federal beneficiaries receive their benefits by electronic payment. Senior citizens and other federal beneficiaries may choose either direct deposit or the Treasury-recommended Direct Express Debit MasterCard.

This new payment method is not optional. It is the law. Besides saving taxpayers money, switching to electronic payments provides a safer, more convenient and cost-effective way for people to get their federal benefits than paper checks.

Individuals who need assistance in switching to electronic payment can call the Treasury's secure Go Direct Call Center. Our agents are specially trained to answer questions and complete the switch-over process in less than 10 minutes.

We urge people not to wait until the last minute to make this important change. Thank you for your help, Abby.-- WALT HENDERSON, GO DIRECT CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR

DEAR MR. HENDERSON: You have come to the right place. Dear Abby readers are the most caring and generous people in the world, and I know they will be glad to help us spread the word.

Readers, if you or people you care about will be affected by this massive change in the way benefits are being distributed, please clip or copy this column and be sure those people are informed. And when you do, tell them that when they make the call, they must have either their most recent benefit check on hand, or know their 12-digit federal benefit check number. To arrange for direct deposit, they will also need to know their bank's or credit union's routing transit number and their account number.

DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away a year ago. Four days after his funeral I received my copy of the church pictorial directory. My husband and I had posed together for our picture. Abby, they used the same photo with his image cropped out.

I don't have words to describe how shocked and hurt I felt when I saw it. While I am healing well, knowing that my husband is happy in heaven, that cropped photo still hurts. It is also being displayed on a bulletin board with members' pictures, along with two new widows' cropped photos.

Am I being overly sensitive? I'm certain nobody meant any harm. Still, I can't imagine anyone would have done this to a family photo if a child had died. Should I address the problem? I'd love to know what other widows and widowers think about this.-- SLASHED APART IN FLORIDA

DEAR SLASHED APART: Handle this by telling whoever is in charge of that pictorial directory, and the bulletin board, how you felt when you saw the photo. Then tell the person -- and if necessary the clergyman -- that you would like a replacement photograph taken and displayed. I am 100 percent sure the other widows will appreciate it because what happened was extremely insensitive.
PEllen

Chicago, IL

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#2
Jan 7, 2013
 
Getting old people to cahnge the way they have always done something is enormously hard. Good luck.

Ah, the pleasures of photoshopping.This is tacky. Just caption the photo Mabel Jones and John Jones (dec'd). Perhaps the church has a directory of parishoners who are now on the other side?

“Licensed to Ill”

Since: Aug 08

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#3
Jan 7, 2013
 
LW2: Talk to the priest about it.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#4
Jan 7, 2013
 
1- Are these new "cost cutting" measures actually gonna improve efficiency and reduce costs? Considering it's run by the government, probably not.

2- You probably should have spoke up to someone a year ago. Or have all recent widows just pose for a new photo.
dahgts

Chicago, IL

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#5
Jan 7, 2013
 
edogxxx wrote:
1- Are these new "cost cutting" measures actually gonna improve efficiency and reduce costs? Considering it's run by the government, probably not.
Says the poster child of pessimism. It is cost-effective to transmit electronically then to send checks, and safer. Think about it. That's why utilities and financial institutions want to do it also. They're always looking for ways to keep their money.

Reminds me of when I was working. As payroll manager I worked very hard to get the company to do direct deposit. Finally did, but there was one guy who had an Elvis do who wouldn't. He said about 20 years ago the bank screwed up his deposit. So he would never do it again.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#6
Jan 7, 2013
 
LW1: PSA, don't care.

LW2: You know who does the bulletin board. Just bring them a new picture of just you and ask to have the one on the board replaced.
Sam I Am

Huntingdon, TN

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#7
Jan 7, 2013
 
1. Blippety blappety boop.

2. The church directory is not a memorial. I don't see the big deal. If you want, give them a new picture of just you so you don't feel like he was cut out.
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#8
Jan 7, 2013
 
edogxxx wrote:
1- Are these new "cost cutting" measures actually gonna improve efficiency and reduce costs? Considering it's run by the government, probably not.
I worked in payroll back in the 1990s. Electronic payments are miles cheaper and easier to process than paper checks.

In fact, I haven't had a job since the one in payroll in the late 1990s where I was permitted to take a paper check instead of direct deposit (15ish years) due to the massive cost and audit savings from direct deposit. Is there any white collar type company that cuts paper checks anymore?
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#9
Jan 7, 2013
 
Now that I think back on it, I personally got thousands of dollars in overtime pay from that job in payroll, via auditing the records of the paper paychecks for the people who refused to switch to direct deposit.

I used to take those records home and audit them in the evening in front of the TV. Boring as sin, thousands of pages (the company had about 25,000 employees, don't remember how many refused direct deposit). I could easily get 10-20 overtime hours a week doing that. Let's see, time and a half for me was 13.50, 13.50x10x52 ... paper checks cost them $7020 over an average year just for me, the peon in payroll. And probably my salary was the smallest cost handling those paper checks.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Schaumburg, IL

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#10
Jan 7, 2013
 
auditing has got to be the palce to be... years ago, hubby's company used to audit corp-issued cell phone bills for personal calls (talk about boring, im' betting, not to mention HTF they figured out what was personal and what was business). my dad, who retired from teh same company, said that they were able to find enough $$ there to pay the annual salaries of like 3 employees +$2-3M in savings.

what i don't know is how they got that $$ back. hubby never gave me his cell number when he started there so i couldn't (a) run up the bill or (b) let it slip to MIL who would soooo run up teh bill for him. a couple years back they went to a straight reiumbursemnt concept and quit auditing.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#11
Jan 7, 2013
 
L1: Have the old folks talk to the bank personnel who can help them set that up. I see old folks in the bank and try to make sure I'm not behind one of them. They do like to chat.

L2: You know they meant no harm -- you even say so. It upset you, naturally, because of your grief. Let it go.

Since: Mar 09

United States

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#12
Jan 7, 2013
 

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pde wrote:
Now that I think back on it, I personally got thousands of dollars in overtime pay from that job in payroll, via auditing the records of the paper paychecks for the people who refused to switch to direct deposit.
I used to take those records home and audit them in the evening in front of the TV. Boring as sin, thousands of pages (the company had about 25,000 employees, don't remember how many refused direct deposit). I could easily get 10-20 overtime hours a week doing that. Let's see, time and a half for me was 13.50, 13.50x10x52 ... paper checks cost them $7020 over an average year just for me, the peon in payroll. And probably my salary was the smallest cost handling those paper checks.
What were you auditing, exactly? Paper checks go through the same calculation process as direct deposits.

And taking them home is a huge no-no - that's confidential information.

:)
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#13
Jan 7, 2013
 
j_m_w wrote:
<quoted text>
What were you auditing, exactly? Paper checks go through the same calculation process as direct deposits.
And taking them home is a huge no-no - that's confidential information.
:)
Which was cashed, which wasn't. The bank gave us paper spreadsheets of the checks that had cleared, I had a spreadsheet with the checks cut, and me and a ruler went through the two very boring spreadsheets and figured out what was missing from the "has been cashed" spreadsheet. Then I got to call up employees (the next day) and ask them why they hadn't cashed their paychecks.

I have no idea why the bank couldn't give us that information electronically and Excel couldn't have done the work in seconds (this was the mid/late 1990s, not the 1960s). Probably because this was the way the payroll department had done it for years and this was the way that the rather elderly manager insisted the process had to be done. When they presented me with these pieces of papers the first time and let me know that as the lowest person on the totem pole, this was now one of my tasks, my jaw dropped.

I didn't really care, it got me overtime to do it.

(I might have also been doing the same with expense checks too. Don't quite remember.)
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#14
Jan 7, 2013
 
j_m_w wrote:
<quoted text>
What were you auditing, exactly? Paper checks go through the same calculation process as direct deposits.
And taking them home is a huge no-no - that's confidential information.
:)
Might have used the wrong term ... I was doing reconciliation rather than audit, right?

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#15
Jan 7, 2013
 
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
Which was cashed, which wasn't. The bank gave us paper spreadsheets of the checks that had cleared, I had a spreadsheet with the checks cut, and me and a ruler went through the two very boring spreadsheets and figured out what was missing from the "has been cashed" spreadsheet. Then I got to call up employees (the next day) and ask them why they hadn't cashed their paychecks.
I have no idea why the bank couldn't give us that information electronically and Excel couldn't have done the work in seconds (this was the mid/late 1990s, not the 1960s). Probably because this was the way the payroll department had done it for years and this was the way that the rather elderly manager insisted the process had to be done. When they presented me with these pieces of papers the first time and let me know that as the lowest person on the totem pole, this was now one of my tasks, my jaw dropped.
I didn't really care, it got me overtime to do it.
(I might have also been doing the same with expense checks too. Don't quite remember.)
Too bad that wasn't with today's technology. You could have put them both in Adobe and just compared the two electronically. Adobe didn't do that back then.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#16
Jan 7, 2013
 
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
Might have used the wrong term ... I was doing reconciliation rather than audit, right?
But it SEEMED like an audit b/c it must have been boring and hellish trying to keep away doing it.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#17
Jan 7, 2013
 
No, no, no! Keep "awake" not keep "away". Geesh.

Since: Mar 09

United States

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#18
Jan 7, 2013
 
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
Might have used the wrong term ... I was doing reconciliation rather than audit, right?
Ah, yes... that makes more sense.
:)

Since: Mar 09

United States

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#19
Jan 7, 2013
 

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Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
Too bad that wasn't with today's technology. You could have put them both in Adobe and just compared the two electronically. Adobe didn't do that back then.
Or Excel. That's how we do it.

Comparing one paper spreadsheet to another for hours on end sounds absolutely miserable. I think I would turn to stripping.
;)
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#20
Jan 7, 2013
 
j_m_w wrote:
<quoted text>
Or Excel. That's how we do it.
Comparing one paper spreadsheet to another for hours on end sounds absolutely miserable. I think I would turn to stripping.
;)
When I first got handed that task, I kind of blinked and went "Excel?"

That was when I was told that the bank "only" provided paper statements to us. But the department manager was also kind of insane and OCD-worthy. Everything had to be done exactly her ritual way. In the two years I worked for her as the department intern, the other employees in the department turned over 100%, twice.

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