Those already on Social Security will have until Mar. 1, 2013 to make the switch, but recipients are being urged to make the change now.
People who will still be able to receive paper checks include recipients age 90 or older, mentally impaired people and those who live in remote areas.
More than 58 million retirees, disabled people and surviving family members receive Social Security or Supplemental Security benefits.
According to officials, eight out of 10 people getting federal benefits currently receive those payments electronically.
Officials said the switch to electronic payments will eliminate the problem of lost or stolen checks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.