Identification Number:
GN 02402 TN 180
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:OFPO
Title:Direct Deposit - Title II and Title XVI
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 024 – Checks
Subchapter 02 – Direct Deposit - Title II and Title XVI
Transmittal No. 180, 01/04/2021

Audience

PSC: BA, CA, CCRE, CS, DS, ICDS, IES, ILPDS, IPDS, ISRA, PETE, RECONR, SCPS, TSA, TST;
OCO-OEIO: BIES, BTE, CCRE, CR, CTE, FCR, PETL, RECOVR;
OCO-ODO: BTE, CCE, CR, CST, CTE, EHI, LCC, LSC, PAS, PCS, PETL, RC, RCOVTA, RECONR, RECOVR;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OFPO

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

Summary of Changes

GN 02402.005 Direct Deposit Information for All Types of Interviews

In section C, removed the word new when referring to the electronic payment requirement.

Clarified throughout the section that Treasury will notify beneficiaries by mail about continuing to receive paper checks.

GN 02402.005 Direct Deposit Information for All Types of Interviews

A. Introduction to the Electronic Payment Initiative

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) All-Electronic Payment Initiative requires that all Title II and Title XVI applicants select a form of electronic payment. Beneficiaries, recipients, and representative payees (rep payees) receiving payments by check were required to switch to a form of electronic payment by March 1, 2013.

This section contains:

  • types of payments excluded from the electronic payment requirement;

  • instructions for direct deposit when bank data is not already on the record;

  • a list of the advantages of direct deposit if the individual asks about being paid by check; and

  • a description of the automated enrollment (ENR) process.

NOTE: For more information about the electronic payment requirement, see GN 02402.001.

B. Requirements for direct deposit

1. Automatic exclusions

For administrative expediency, Treasury excludes the following payments from the electronic payment requirement:

  • lump-sum only payments, or other nonrecurring payments (see SI 02005.006);

  • underpayments paid after death of beneficiaries or recipients;

  • payments made to beneficiaries outside the U.S.; and

  • fees paid to attorneys.

NOTE: Exemptions to the electronic payment requirements are outlined in GN 02402.001B.

2. When to discuss direct deposit

The interviewer must discuss direct deposit and the electronic payment requirement when taking or developing an initial claim and for any post-entitlement action when direct deposit is not on the record.

3. Automated enrollment process

Beneficiaries, recipients, and rep payees can ask their financial institutions (FIs) to send direct deposit information electronically to SSA through the ENR process. This service allows FIs to transmit direct deposit enrollment information to SSA electronically, thereby avoiding the need to contact SSA's field offices (FOs) or the National 800 Number. Participation in the ENR process is voluntary for FIs per GN 02402.106.

NOTE: If a Direct Deposit Fraud Prevention (DDFP) Block is on the record, the beneficiary, recipient or rep payees are required to make direct deposit changes to the record in person, see GN 02402.023

C. Pre-claims and initial claims interviews

The electronic payment requirement states that all Title II and Title XVI applicants must select a form of electronic payment by choosing direct deposit, a Direct Express debit card, and initial claims interviews (including a telephone contact to schedule an appointment), ask if the applicant has an account at an FI. If you are scheduling an appointment, ask the applicant to have his or her routing and account number for the interview. If you are interviewing, take the following actions:

1. Applicant has a checking or savings account

Obtain the FI account information needed to pay benefits by direct deposit.

2. Applicant does not have a bank account

Discuss Treasury’s All-Electronic Payment Initiative and their “Go Direct” campaign. Explain that the rules require beneficiaries, recipients, and rep payees to receive their payments electronically, unless they get an exemption from Treasury. For an explanation of the “Go Direct” campaign, see GN 02402.004.

Discuss the advantages of direct deposit and the banking services they provide. For an explanation of advantages of direct deposit, see GN 02402.005H.

If the individual does not want a bank account, discuss the advantages of the Direct Express debit card found in GN 02402.007.

D. Handling iClaims when the applicant does not elect direct deposit

Currently iClaim filers are not offered Direct Express. If you are processing an iClaim and the applicant did not select direct deposit as the method of payment, please contact the applicant via phone and follow the instructions outlined in subsection GN 02402.005E.

E. Handling issues regarding the electronic payment requirement

Follow the instructions outlined below if you are conducting an initial claims interview for a Title II or Title XVI applicant.

If the applicant

Then

  • does not have an account, or

  • refuses a form of electronic payment, and

  • does not allege one of the exemptions to the electronic payment requirement, listed in GN 02402.001B,

  • advise the individual of Treasury’s electronic payment requirement,

  • discuss direct deposit and its advantages, see GN 02402.005H, and

  • if direct deposit is not a viable option, discuss Direct Express and its advantages, see GN 02402.007.

  • still does not agree with the electronic payment requirement, and

  • does not appear to meet the exemption requirements,

explain the electronic payment requirement again and, state the following:

  • We will continue to pay him or her by check;

  • Treasury will contact him or her (by mail) to obtain a written certification of his or her exemption request from the electronic payment requirement; and

  • Treasury will make a determination and inform him or her of their decision.

NOTE: If an individual inquires about the status of an exemption request, refer him or her to Treasury’s exemption helpline at 1-800-333-1795.

indicates that he or she meets one of the exemption reasons listed in GN 02402.001B,

explain to the applicant the following:

  • We will continue to pay him or her by check;

  • Treasury will contact him or her (by mail) about continuing to receive payments via check and explain how to apply for an exemption; and

  • Treasury will make a determination and inform him or her of their decision.

NOTE: In representative payee cases, the rep payee’s circumstance is the basis for the exemption request.

asks if he or she does not enroll in a form of electronic payment

explain the following to the applicant:

  • We will pay him or her by check;

  • Treasury will contact him or her (by mail) about continuing to receive payments via check and how to apply for an exemption; and

  • Treasury will make a determination and inform him or her of their decision.

NOTE: Treasury is responsible for determining if an individual is eligible for an exemption. SSA is not responsible for the development of the determination.

F. Post-entitlement interviews

When conducting the interview:

  • if the individual reports nonreceipt of a check, discuss direct deposit;

  • if the individual does not have an account with an FI, discuss Direct Express;

  • assist the individual by informing him or her of the benefits of direct deposit. For more information about direct deposit post-entitlement interviews, see GN 02402.025; and

  • if a current check recipient would like to enroll in direct deposit or Direct Express, enroll the beneficiary, recipient, or rep payee in the electronic payment of his or her choice.

G. Post-entitlement questions about the electronic payment requirement for beneficiaries, recipients, or representative payees after March 1, 2013

If the beneficiary, recipient, or representative payee

Then

has direct deposit or a Direct Express account and requests to cancel and receive payments via check and does not allege one of the exemptions to the electronic payment requirement,

  • inform the beneficiary, recipient, or rep payee of the electronic payment requirement;

  • if the beneficiary, recipient, or rep payee has an existing direct deposit or a Direct Express account and wants to cancel or switch, please see GN 02402.025B.

  • offer the beneficiary, recipient, or rep payee assistance to enroll for direct deposit at another FI;

  • provide the option that he or she enroll for a Direct Express debit card if he or she currently has direct deposit. See Direct Deposit as a Form of Electronic Payment in GN 02402.001; and

  • remove the direct deposit RTN and DAN, verify the mailing address, if applicable.

    NOTE: If a Direct Deposit Auto-Enrollment Fraud Prevention (DDFP) Block is on the record, the beneficiary, recipient or rep payee may be required to make direct deposit changes to the record in person.

still does not agree with the electronic payment requirement and does not appear to meet Treasury’s exemption requirements,

explain the electronic payment requirement again. If the individual still does not agree, state the following:

We will pay him or her by check:

  • Treasury will contact him or her (by mail) to obtain written certification of his or her exemption request from the electronic payment requirement; and

  • Treasury will make a determination and inform him or her of their decision.

NOTE: If an individual inquires about the status of an exemption request, refer him or her to Treasury’s exemption helpline at 1-800-333-1795.

has direct deposit or Direct Express but requests more information for an exemption from the electronic payment requirement,

explain that Treasury administers the exemption process. Refer the individual to Treasury’s exemption helpline at 1-800-333-1795.

Follow these guidelines when assisting individuals to establish direct deposit:

  • Explain the electronic payment requirement in GN 02402.001;

  • Offer assistance to establish a bank account;

  • Provide the list of area FIs and the types of services they offer;

  • If direct deposit is not a viable option, discuss the Direct Express debit card provided by Comerica;

  • Inform the beneficiary, recipient, or representative payee of the advantages of the Direct Express debit card in GN 02402.007; and

  • Advise the individual receiving benefits that they can change their direct deposit in person, by calling their local field office, or by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213. (Make sure individual is aware that in order to change their direct deposit, that they must have their old bank account RTN and DAN information).

    Title II beneficiaries can also make changes to their direct deposit online at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ if they do not have an electronic block on their records. Online users will NOT be able to cancel their direct deposit using the online service.

  • When an individual requests to begin direct deposit, change, or cancel his or her direct deposit, always remind the individual to notify SSA of any change of mailing address. Failure to do so may cause suspension of benefits when SSA attempts to contact the person.

NOTE: If a Direct Deposit Auto-Enrollment Fraud Prevention (DDFP) Block is on the record, the beneficiary, recipient or rep payee is required to make direct deposit changes to the record in person.

H. List of direct deposit advantages

The majority of Title II beneficiaries, Title XVI recipients, and their rep payees receive payment by direct deposit, and the number is growing daily. The advantages are numerous:

1. Direct deposit is safe because:

  • it avoids the possibility of lost, stolen, or forged checks;

  • according to Treasury, a beneficiary, recipient, or rep payee is more likely to make a nonreceipt claim for a check than for a direct deposit payment; and

  • beneficiaries, recipients, or rep payees who travel do not have to make special arrangements for someone to safeguard their payments. Treasury will safely deposit the money into their account.

2. Direct deposit is reliable because:

  • there are no mail delays;

  • payments are traceable through the banking system and problems are resolved quickly; and

  • beneficiaries, recipients, or rep payees have a permanent record on their bank statements of the payment amount received each month. They can also contact the FI to verify each deposit.

3. Direct deposit is economical for the following reasons:

  • FIs are required to make funds available at the opening of business on the payment date. Beneficiaries, recipients, or rep payees who use direct deposit with interest-bearing accounts can earn the most interest on their money because payments are in the account at the earliest possible time;

  • beneficiaries, recipients, or rep payees without bank accounts can avoid check cashing fees and fees for money orders to pay bills by setting up a bank account and electing direct deposit, and

  • beneficiaries, recipients, or rep payees may save account fees if they bank with an FI that offers free services to direct deposit customers.

4. Direct deposit is convenient because:

  • there is no need to make a special trip to a FI and wait in line to cash the check (especially in bad weather and during times of illness);

  • problems associated with checks lost in the mail are eliminated; and

  • the beneficiary, recipient, or representative payee does not have to wait around for the mail delivery to ensure their check is safe.

I. Frequently Asked Questions concerning the electronic payment requirement

Questions

Answers

What should I do if I meet the age exemption (born prior to May 1, 1921)?

If you do not want an electronic payment, we will pay you by check. Treasury automatically grants this exemption. You do not need to request this exemption.

What does mental impairment mean?

It means the beneficiary or recipient has a mental or psychological disorder that may prevent him or her from handling electronic payments. However, the beneficiary or recipient is capable of handling his or her own affairs and may have a representative payee that does not assist him or her. A mental impairment does not relate to a disability determination.

Treasury is responsible for determining if an individual is eligible for an exemption. SSA is not responsible for making the determination.

NOTE: In rep payee cases, the rep payee’s circumstance is the basis for the exemption request.

Can you explain remote geographic location?

Treasury defines a remote geographic location as an area lacking the transportation or infrastructure to access ATMs or retailers with point-of-sale capability to utilize electronic financial services. Treasury will determine who meets the exemption.

Will I receive a payment if I do not select an electronic payment by March 1, 2013?

  • We will continue to pay you by check;

  • Treasury will contact you about continuing to receive payments via check and how to apply for an exemption; and

  • Treasury will make a determination and inform you of their decision.

J. Handling inquiries from attorneys and beneficiaries residing outside the United States

If you receive an inquiry from an attorney or a beneficiary residing outside the United States, please inform him or her that attorneys and beneficiaries residing outside of the United States are not required to receive payments by direct deposit at this time. For a complete list of exemptions, see GN 02402.001.

K. References


GN 02402 TN 180 - Direct Deposit - Title II and Title XVI - 1/04/2021