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Direct Deposit of Benefits

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

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122. Direct Deposit of Benefits

122.1 What is "direct deposit?"

A "direct deposit" is a payment sent electronically to an account in a financial institution. The financial institution can be a bank, trust company, savings and loan association, or credit union.

122.2 Do you have to receive your Social Security and SSI benefits by direct deposit?

Direct deposit is now the standard way to receive Social Security and SSI benefits. The law requires that after December 1998, with limited exceptions, all Federal benefits must be paid through some form of direct deposit.

122.3 How do you sign up for direct deposit?

You can sign up for direct deposit through your financial institution or by calling Social Security's toll free number, 1-800-772-1213.

122.4 How can you get direct deposit if you live outside the U.S.?

We have an international direct deposit (IDD) program in certain countries outside the U.S. If you live in a country that has an IDD program, you must participate in the program. If you live in a country where no IDD program exists, you are exempt until such a program is available. However, you may have direct deposit to an account in the U.S. or any IDD country. For more information on direct deposit, see http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10137.html.

122.5 What information do you report to Social Security if you have direct deposit?

  1. If you have direct deposit, you must advise us if you change your account. You must also tell us if you change your address or residence. This is important so we can communicate with you and mail necessary forms, etc. when necessary.

  2. If you do not receive your payment in your account on the payment date, you should check with your bank and then call SSA's toll free number, 1-800-772-1213. It is important to have your claim number ready. (See §133.)

Last Revised: Apr. 18, 2006


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