En español | Q. I want to change the bank I use for the direct deposit of my Social Security benefits. How do I do this?
A. You have two options. You can call Social Security at 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) and a representative will take the new bank account information over the phone. Or you can make the change online.
For the online option you'll need a Social Security password. Don't have one? You'll have to request it online. Apply at this Web page. In about 15 days, you'll receive a temporary password via U.S. mail.
You then use the password to sign on and change your bank account information. You can also make other changes to your personal information, such as your mailing address and telephone number. (And during your first online session, you'll want to create a permanent password.)
Social Security suggests you allow 30 to 60 days for a bank change to take effect. You should monitor your new bank account to see when the benefits begin arriving and keep your old account open until they do.
Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.