In an effort to make Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments more efficient, the Social Security Administration requires participants to receive their payments electronically. Luckily, there are two ways you can receive your funds: either directly through your bank account or through Social Security’s Direct Express debit card.
When Will I Receive My Benefits?
The SSA transmits your monthly disability payments on the same day each month. If you started receiving SSDI benefits after 1997, the date you receive your payment depends on your birthday:
- For birthdays on the 1st – 10th of a month, your SSDI payments arrive on the second Wednesday of every month.
- Birthdays on the 11th – 20th of a month, your SSDI payments arrive on the third Wednesday of every month.
- And, for birthdays on the 21st – 31st, your SSDI payments arrive on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
On the other hand, claimants who started receiving benefits before 1997 will receive their payments on the third day of the month, no matter when their birthday is. You can contact Social Security and request they change your payment date. If you request a change, they will use the birthday scheduled as listed above. You won’t get to select any date you’d like.
What is Social Security’s Direct Express Program?
Once you are awarded disability benefits, you can set up your payment. Direct Express is the SSA’s electronic payment program for claimants who don’t want to use a bank. The Direct Express card is just like a debit card. Each month, you can use the disability payments electronically loaded on the card to access your funds.
You can use the Direct Express card anywhere they accept MasterCard and to get cash back. This program is free and there is no monthly charge for the card. If you’d prefer to use the Direct Express card for your disability payments, you can call Direct Express at 800-333-1795.
Using Direct Deposit or ETA’s
If you would prefer to receive your disability benefits, you can set up direct deposit at your bank of credit union. Or, you can also sign up directly through the SSA online at www.socialsecurity.gov/deposit or by visiting or calling a local office.
Some banks offer Electronic Transfer Accounts (ETAs) for people without bank accounts. ETAs are designed by the federal government to make sure people who receive certain federal payments have a place to get their payments deposited directly. However, there are certain guidelines an ETA must follow, which include charging a fee of no more than $3.00 per month and allowing at least four cash withdrawals a month. Some banks have ETAs that allow you to withdraw money from an ATM. For more information, speak to a bank or credit union that offers ETAs, as they may differ.
In summary, electronic payments require a bit of initial set-up but they are much more convenient long-term. Another benefit of electronic payments is that they can’t be lost or stolen in the mail. Brink a bank statement or checkbook with you when you apply for disability. That way, the SSA representative can set up direct deposit for you at that time.
For phone numbers and links to information on local offices, click here.