TN 52 (04-14)

GN 02402.115 Power of Attorney to Foreign Financial Institutions (FI)

A. Introduction to power of attorney to a foreign FI

Any beneficiary living outside the U.S. can use either direct deposit to a FI in the U.S. or International Direct Deposit (IDD) of title II payments to an FI in any country where it is available. However, it is not always feasible to use IDD when it is not available in the beneficiary's country of residence. For a list of countries where IDD is available, see GN 02402.200. For beneficiaries in non-IDD countries, we can grant a power of attorney to a foreign FI so we can mail checks to the FI. For more information see GN 02402.115B in this section.

We should pay all title II payments electronically, unless the beneficiary:

  • lives in a country where we have not yet made arrangements for electronic payments or

  • states that direct deposit would cause a hardship For more information on direct deposit waiver see GN 02402.201B.1.

When we send checks to the foreign FI by power of attorney, this arrangement is not a form of electronic payment.

B. Policy for granting power of attorney to a foreign FI

The Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) approves a request for power of attorney to a foreign FI when the title II beneficiary has completed a Form FMS 233 (Special Power of Attorney by Individual to a Bank for the Collection of Checks Drawn on the United States Treasury) and:

  • filed the original with the FI;

  • filed a copy with us;

  • kept one copy; and

  • provides us with the complete address of his or her residence abroad.

IMPORTANT: When checks go to a foreign FI under a Power of Attorney, the address on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) is the foreign FI’s address. All notices go to the FI. To avoid suspension for failure to complete and return certain forms that we send to beneficiaries living outside the U.S., the beneficiary needs to arrange with the FI to pick up the notices.

C. Procedure for completing the FMS 233

When a title II beneficiary who resides in a non-IDD country requests that his or her checks go to a foreign FI, provide him or her with a copy of an FMS 233, located in GN 02402.115D (This form is not available in foreign FIs).

Instruct the beneficiary or representative payee to do the following:

  • Enter either “retirement and survivors payments” or “disability insurance benefits” in the space titled “State purpose for which checks are issued.” The person providing the form may complete this section before giving it to the beneficiary if she or he knows the claim number.

  • Indicate the period for which the authorization applies.

  • Send a completed copy of the form to:

    Office of International Operations
    PO Box 17769
    Baltimore, MD 21235-7769

The FI should keep the original copy of this form. Inform the beneficiary to keep the duplicate.

D. Exhibit: FMS 233 – Special Power of Attorney by Individual for the Collection of Checks Draw