Q: My wife and I changed our direct deposit information at the same time. Why did one process immediately for the next month and the other take two months?
A: The most likely reason is that you each receive Social Security through your individual work records, with payments arriving on different days of the month. The 2013 schedule of Social Security benefit payment dates is here.
Nearly all changes to SSA records show on internal agency records within a day or two even though you might not immediately see the change. Direct deposit, the electronic routing of payment to your financial institution, is a good example.
Social Security must follow strict monthly processing timeframes when providing the Treasury Department with new address information. Depending on when Social Security receives your updated direct deposit information, compared to these timeframes and your payment date during the month, your next benefit might go to your new account or the change might not be effective until the following payment. Social Security strongly recommends keeping your old bank account open until benefits are received in the new account.
Have you created your personal my Social Security account yet? If yes, and you receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits, you can view and change the direct deposit information on your record, update your address and immediately download an online letter to verify the type or amount of benefits received at your convenience without contacting a Social Security office or calling the national number (1-800-772-1213 / TTY 1-800-325-0778).
With a my Social Security account, people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can obtain the online letter to verify the type or amount of benefits received but cannot change direct deposit or address information.
The processing timeframes mentioned above remain whether you change your direct deposit account information through your my Social Security account or by contacting Social Security. Remember that Social Security strongly recommends keeping your old bank account open until benefits are received in the new account.