False claim pre-2021 US dollars will be invalid in 2023

Written by on November 24, 2022

The claim: U.S. dollars from before 2021 won’t be valid after January 2023 

In another iteration of social media claims about American currency, people are posting warnings online about a supposed major change to the U.S. dollar in 2023. 

“US Dollar Notes Below Year 2021 Will Not Be Acceptable From January 2023 – US Government – something is fishy,” reads the Nov. 5 Facebook post that was shared more than 200 times in less than two weeks.

Other versions of the claim amassed hundreds of additional shares on the social media platform. 

But a spokesperson for the Treasury, which oversees the production of American currency, said the claim is baseless. The hundreds of billions of pre-2021 bills currently in circulation will continue to be valid. 

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USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the claim for comment. 

No changes to validity of American currency 

The Treasury Department told USA TODAY the claim was false. 

“All U.S. currency remains legal tender,” department spokesperson Julia Krieger said. “This will not change.” 

The website for the Federal Reserve, which sets the nation’s monetary policy and maintains the stability of the financial system, also does not include any announcements about an impending change to American currency.

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The website does say that money is “taken out of circulation and destroyed” when it’s no longer in good condition. The estimated lifespan of a $1 bill, according to the website, is 6.6 years. That varies depending on the denomination, with the shortest being $5 at 4.7 years and the longest being $100 at 22.9 years.

More than 600 billion federal reserve notes from before 2021 were in circulation as of October, according to data from the Federal Reserve. That includes more than 200 billion $1 bills, almost 50 billion $5 bills and nearly 150 billion $20 bills. 

As long as those bills meet the Federal Reserve’s quality criteria, they will continue to circulate and remain valid. 

The claim was also debunked by Check Your Fact and Africa Check. 

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim U.S. dollars from before 2021 won’t be valid after January 2023. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department said there will be no change to the validity of American currency. The hundreds of billions of dollars printed before 2021 and currently circulating will remain legal tender. 

Our fact-check sources: 

  • Julia Krieger, Nov. 18, Email to USA TODAY 
  • The Federal Reserve, accessed Nov. 18, Press Releases
  • Africa Check, Nov. 16, No, claim that US dollars printed before 2021 will not be accepted from January 2023 patently false
  • The Federal Reserve, Oct. 17, 2022, Currency in Circulation: Volume
  • The Federal Reserve, March 9, 2020, How long is the lifespan of U.S. paper money?

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook. 

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