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How long does it take for Social Security to change direct deposit?

The Social Security Administration offers direct deposit to beneficiaries as a safe, quick, and convenient way to receive monthly benefits.

The Social Security Administration offers direct deposit to beneficiaries as a safe, quick, and convenient way to receive monthly benefits.

Social Security benefits can be paid in two ways.

The first is through a Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®, which is refilled each month by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These cards are also used to distribute payments for the Child Tax Credit and other federal benefits.

The second method, which is recommended by the Social Security Administration is direct deposit. For many Social Security beneficiaries, direct deposit is the safest way to receive benefits because there is no risk of a check or debit card getting lost or stolen.

How do I sign up?

There are many ways to sign up for a direct deposit. The SSA has created an online platform called Go Direct that allows one to complete the process online. To sign up one must have the following information on hand:

  •  Social Security number

  •  Information from your most recent federal benefit check or claim number

  •  Financial institution's routing transit number*

  • Account number* and type (checking or savings). 

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Most banks in the United States can also members set up direct deposit with the SSA, and the SSA  can also provide assistance over the phone at 1-800-333-1795.

How long does it take?

According to Senior Living, an online news outlet, it takes anywhere between thirty and sixty days for the account changes to be made.

Is it possible to set up direct deposit with a foreign bank account?

Many retirees who have worked in the United States end up moving to other countries or repatriating. Direct deposit is an option for them so long as the bank in another country has “an international direct deposit agreement.”

In most cases, the SSA has no issue paying benefits to those living in, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

However, the list of countries where benefits are made to survivors of a deceased worker varies a bit.

This can save a lot of time and money as those in other countries will not need to exchange dollars for a local currency. However, one should be aware that the exchange rate given by the bank, may not be the best on the market. Weighing the costs and benefits of such a move should be considered before taking the step.

Cuba and North Korea are the only countries where the SSA is not allowed to send benefits through direct deposit. The SSA also states that they often have trouble sending payments to Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, but that they “ can make exceptions for certain eligible persons in these countries.”


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