Paycheck Chronicles

Direct Deposit of Pay and Benefits: What you Need to Know

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Banking. Getty Images -- Getty Images

If you are getting government payments you are most likely receiving them via Direct Deposit. In fact, the government requires all payments to individuals be made via direct deposit, there are exceptions to this rule, but they can be cumbersome.

If you are unable to obtain a bank account, the government will issue you a debit card, they will then deposit your payments to that debit card. For more information see the DFAS website. 

If you are one of the 99 percent of the people who get your government payments by direct deposit or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), you may wonder just how to change your bank account information in case you move or change banks. 

We have all the information you need right here.

Direct Deposit Of Military Pay

Direct deposit is required for all military pay. You should check with your personnel or payroll office for details and more information.

Direct Deposit of VA Payments

If you get payments from the VA for GI Bill, disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, Dependents Indemnity Compensation, or more you can change your direct deposit information on the VA's eBenefits website

To change your information click on "Manage" on the top of the screen, then click on "Contact and Direct Deposit" on the menu that appears.

To update your payment information online, you must have a submitted claim that is currently under consideration or be receiving benefits.

You can also mail the Direct Deposit Enrollment (VA Form 24-0296) to:

VA National Direct Deposit Center
Suite B
125 S. Main Street
Muskogee, OK 74401

If you have problems, the best way to get a speedy answer is calling the VA. For GI Bill benefits, call 888-GI BILL (888-442-4551), for all other benefits call 800-827-1000.

Military Retirement & Survivor Benefit Plan Payments

If you are receiving military retirement or Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity payments, the fastest and easiest way to change your direct deposit account information is through the Defense Finance and Accounting System (DFAS)myPay online account access system.

If you don't already have a myPay account, it can take a little effort to set one up, but the benefit is worth the effort.  You'll have 24 hour a day, 7 day a week access to your account details, annual account statements, the ability to change your direct deposit account, change your mailing address, and print tax statements.

If you are unable to set up a myPay account, or do not want to, then you will need to change your direct deposit information using the paper Direct Deposit Enrollment Form (FMS 2231), and mailing it to:

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
8899 E. 56 Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249

Paper forms may take up to 60 days to be processed.

As always, if you have problems, you can always call DFAS at 800-321-1080 for help.

Direct Deposit Overseas

If you are living overseas and want your government payments directly deposited into an American bank, you follow the instructions above, if you want them deposited into a  foreign bank it can be a bit trickier.

Normally, the deposit will be in U.S. Dollars, the bank will convert it to the local currency, you may have to pay a conversion fee. If you are in Canada you have the option to be paid in U.S. Dollars or Canadian Dollars.

Currently the U.S. Treasury allows your VA payments to be directly deposited into foreign banks in 65 different countries, and your military retirement to be directly deposited into foreign banks in 45 countries.  

To sign up for direct deposit into a foreign bank you will need to submit an International Direct Deposit Enrollment SF 1199-I) and submit it by mail to the proper agency above. 

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