TN 52 (04-14)

GN 02402.201 Background and Policy for Direct Deposit Outside the U.S.

A. Background

International Direct Deposit (IDD) service is a joint effort between our agency and its fiscal agent, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (FRBKC). The process also involves the assistance of a processor financial institution (FI). This may be either the central FI of that country (e.g., the Bank of England) or a large commercial FI. Treasury deposits payments in the beneficiary's account at an FI in that country. IDD for foreign beneficiaries:

  • significantly reduces the Government's administrative expenses;

  • is more reliable than checks and allows beneficiaries to receive payments on time; and

  • saves the average beneficiary $7 - $30 per month in check cashing and currency conversion fees because Treasury usually makes payments in local currencies and deposits them directly in the beneficiary's account. In a few countries where the U.S. dollar is the usual currency or in general use, IDD is available for accounts in U.S. Dollars. For Canada, we offer a choice of Canadian dollars or U.S. dollars.

The process used to make direct deposit payments is generally similar among countries. However, special IDD instructions exist for each country. For a list of countries participating in IDD and corresponding references for coding account data, see GN 02402.220D.

B. Policy for direct deposit in a foreign country

1. Method of payment

New applicants for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits must receive their payments electronically. Treasury instituted an all-electronic initiative that required check receivers to switch to an electronic form of payment. Treasury determined that beneficiaries living in a foreign country who refuse to participate in electronic payments based on hardship can file for a waiver.

While we prefer to pay beneficiaries in foreign countries electronically, Treasury may grant an exemption to the electronic payment requirement based on certain conditions. Please see Direct Deposit Policy regarding other exemptions to Treasury’s All Electronic Payment Initiative in GN 02402.001. This policy applies regardless of date of eligibility. Pay benefits by check if a beneficiary residing outside the U.S. inquires about a waiver from the direct deposit requirement or otherwise indicates that payment by direct deposit would impose a hardship.

NOTE: Because of local automated clearinghouse (ACH) requirements, Treasury generally makes IDD payments in local currencies. Interviewers in claims-taking Federal Benefits Units (FBUs) or border offices should ask if the beneficiary has an account in either the U.S. or an IDD country. If the answer is yes, interviewers should assume that the beneficiary will receive payment by direct deposit. If the answer is no, ask them if they would like to enroll for direct deposit. If they do not wish to enroll for direct deposit, inform the beneficiary that he or she can file for a waiver. When developing a claim by mail from a claimant in a country with no claims-taking unit, Office Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) should inform the claimant about the availability of direct deposit in the U.S. or an IDD country.

REMINDER: There are very rare instances when title XVI recipients living outside the U.S. may receive benefits. For instances when we consider an SSI recipient living abroad eligible for payments see SI 00501.411 and SI 00501.415.

2. Schedule of IDD payments

Beneficiaries generally receive regular monthly IDD payments on the third of the month. Treasury sends IDD Prior Monthly Accrual (PMA) payments on a daily basis. When the payment date for a regular monthly payment or a PMA payment coincides with a non-business day in the foreign country, Treasury generally deposits payments on the next business day. In some IDD countries, FIs may post direct deposit payments 1 to 3 days after the payment date, according to the local banking customs.

The payment date for a PMA payment is generally 4 workdays from the date it goes to Treasury. However, a PMA payment sent to Treasury after the close of the current operating month may contain the payment for that month. Therefore, it is illegal for a PMA check to contain a date earlier than the first day of the following month. For details about how to determine the date of an IDD PMA payment see GN 02402.225A.2.

3. Conditions for IDD

Beneficiaries must meet the following conditions to be eligible for IDD:

  • Beneficiaries using IDD must reside outside the U.S.

  • Beneficiaries using IDD must keep us informed of their residence address.

    NOTE: When beneficiaries return to live in the U.S., IDD will cease.

  • Accounts selected for direct deposit in foreign financial institutions (FI) must meet the requirements outlined in GN 02402.030 and GN 02402.045 through GN 02402.060.

  • The beneficiary must submit his or her request for IDD on the signup form developed for the country or a document containing the same information. For a list of countries that have forms available, see GN 02402.200.

    Beneficiaries may reside in one foreign country and have IDD arrangements in another foreign country (e.g., a beneficiary who resides in Belgium but banks in France). The only exception is if the beneficiary resides in a restricted country. For more details on Treasury IDD restrictions see RS 02650.000. Requests for direct deposit to a foreign FI must be on the signup form developed for that country or in a format that includes the same information found on the county’s signup form. For foreign country enrollment forms, see GN 02402.220D. The FBU will code IDD account data on applications taken at claims development posts. Section 3 (below the signature block on the application) contains the account data.

C. References

  • GN 02402.300 Coding Canadian Bank Data for the MBR

  • GN 02402.220 Updating International Direct Deposit to the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402201
GN 02402.201 - Background and Policy for Direct Deposit Outside the U.S. - 07/19/2016
Batch run: 07/19/2016
Rev:07/19/2016