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Direct Deposit of Benefits

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


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

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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There are 14 Comments

Iwant to have my check put on my card


I did not receive my direct deposit check on the 1st and i don't know why i haven't received any letters from the ssi office telling me anything . i don't know what i am supose to do i have never had any problems in the past recieving my deposit and nothing has changed on my part what should i do and who do i contact to get this straightened out.

David S

I want to re-direct my deposit for December into another bank. Can I do this from the new bank? This is the Nov. 19th, will their be time enough for re-direct of my deposit by Dec.?

To change your direct deposit from one bank to another bank:

To change your direct deposit from one account to another account, you should contact Social Security. Be sure to have your Social Security number and a personal check or statement from you new account available. Also, you should wait until deposits or changes become effective before you close your old account.

I do not understand the reasoning but I am 100% disabled from OIF and I did not receive my SSI payment this month. I always have received it in the past with no problem. What is wrong now?


I want to have taxes deducted from my Social Security Check. I am still working. What form do I need and how can I print or get this form? I expect to receive my next check in July. It will be direct deposited. Thanks

My mother recently moved to another city and wants her checks sent to her new bank. How do we get her direct deposit switched to the new bank?

My husband 's benefit card direct deposit card has been stolen what do we do ?

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