Besides issuing benefit checks, the Social Security Administration makes electronic payments to your bank account if you choose the recommended direct deposit option. To participate in the program, you must have a savings or checking account at a bank, credit union or savings and loan insured by the federal government. It takes 30 to 60 days from the day you make the request for you to begin to receive your benefits electronically. If you later switch bank accounts, inform the Social Security Administration so your payments continue to reach you.
Open a new checking or savings account at a federally-insured banking institution. The Social Security Administration instructs you to inform the bank at that time that you wish to start receiving your checks via direct deposit into the new account.
Gather your Social Security number, your new bank account number and the bank’s routing number. Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 and tell the representative you wish to start receiving your direct-deposit payments in your new bank account. You’ll need to provide the three numbers for the agency to process your request.
Another way to make this change is to fill out Social Security's “Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form.” This one-page form is available for download on the Social Security website, or obtain a hard copy at your local Social Security Office. Read the instructions on the second page to complete it correctly. Once you fill it out, take it either to the bank where you opened your new account or to your Social Security Office.
To do this via Internet, notify the Social Security Administration about your new bank account at the Social Security website. Choose “Direct Deposit” from the pull-down menu on the right titled “Other Useful Links.” Click the hyperlink “Obtain a Password” and follow the instructions to register for one. Once you have a password, return to the same page where you applied for it. This time, click the hyperlink “Start or Change Direct Deposit Online.” Follow the online instructions to change your banking information with your password.
Close your old bank account only after Social Security starts depositing your benefits in the new account.
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.