In 2010, 83 percent of all Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients received benefits by direct deposit. Direct deposit sends your Social Security check or SSI benefits directly to your bank account, and requires a joint effort on the part of your bank, the Social Security payment processing department and you. If you are receiving Social Security benefits and have been using direct deposit, you can change your bank account for deposits. The transfer process is simple on your part, but there is a significant delay before the paperwork is changed.
Set up a new bank account with your local bank that is federally insured. Ask about an Electronic Transfer Account (ETA), which usually incurs lower costs than an ordinary checking account. It may restrict the number of withdrawals you can make each month, but is set up specifically for direct deposit.
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Assemble the information needed to change bank accounts for Social Security benefits. This includes a personal check or statement from the new account and your Social Security number.
Call Social Security at 800-772-1213 and request a change or complete the Direct Deposit Form and take it to your bank or Social Security office. You may choose to change Social Security benefits, but not SSI, by acquiring a password and making the change online. Social Security Customer Help indicates that it prefers that you contact Social Security.
Close your bank account previously tied to direct deposit only after a Social Security or SSI check has arrived in the new bank account. It often takes 60 days to make the change, and you need to keep both accounts open until you are certain your changes are completed.