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Social Security Debit Card

As of March 1, 2013, the United States Department of the Treasury requires all federal government benefit payments to be made by electronic payments. This includes Social Security benefits. You can either have your benefit payments direct deposited into your account, or you can have it automatically deposited into your Direct Deposit Debit Card Account (Social Security Debit Card Account). In addition, when you sign up to receive your Social Security,  Supplemental Security Income, VA or other federal benefits, you can select the  Direct Express debit card and have your money automatically deposited to your card account on your payment date. Here is how to sign up for the Social Security Debit Card.

"Social Security Debit Card"

Social Security Debit Card Application

Signing up is easy. All you have to do is to call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795 (toll free) and tell them you want to sign up for the Direct Express Debit MasterCard. No bank account or credit check is required to enroll. There are no sign-up fees or monthly account fees. Many other card services are free. Additional information about the card is available at their website which you can visit at www.USDirectExpress.com. Here is the information you will need to provide when you call:

  • 12-digit federal benefit check number
  • Amount of most recent federal benefit check

The image below show you how to retrieve that information on your Social Security Benefits Check.

"Social Security Debit Card Application"

How Does it Work?

The Social Security Debit MasterCard functions like a regular bank debit card. You can use it to make purchases at stores that accept Debit MasterCard, like grocery, pharmacy, gas stations, restaurants, hotels etc. You can also use it to pay bills, purchase money orders from the U.S. Post Office and get cash from an ATM or financial institution that displays the MasterCard acceptance mark. Here is a short video that explains in details what you can do with your card and the security and other benefits you get from using it.

Social Security Debit Card Customer Service Information

If you would like to reach the Direct Express customer service and support team, here are the numbers to call: To sign up for the Direct Express card, please contact the enrollment center between the hours of 7:00 AM CST to 7:00 PM CST Monday through Friday. The Card Enrollment Center can be reached toll free at: 1-800-333-1795.

If you already have a card and have questions for customer service, you can reach them toll free at: 1-888-741-1115 — Hearing impaired: 1-866-569-0447 — International: 1-765-778-6290 (Collect). They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here are some of the issues they can help you with:

  • Reporting lost or stolen cards
  • Balance inquiries
  • PIN changes
  • Transaction history requests
  • Registering a complaint about a card issue
  • Questions about card usage
  • Questions about international card usage

We hope this review has been helpful to you. If you are currently getting benefits by check, you are out of compliance and need to sign up either for direct deposit into your bank account or get a Direct Express card. If you don’t do anything, the United States Treasury Department will switch you from getting checks in the mail to the Direct Express Card.

How Social Security Works

Social Security is a safety net established for the elderly and disabled Americans in 1935 under the Social Security Act. The program is funded from contributions by American workers with the security of having benefits when working is no longer an option. The benefits that the retired or disabled workers initially receive are based on their personal earning history.

How Social Security Works

There are 3 things that are important to understand about social security

  • How to become eligible – you need 40 credits or about 10 years of work.
  • How to calculate the amount of money that you will receive – your benefit is based on your earnings. If you are a low income earner, you will receive a much higher percentage of your income than a higher wage earner.
  • When you can start drawing on the money – The full retirement age varies (see figure below). If you have a retirement age of 66 then you would be able to start drawing on your social security with a 25% penalty at age 62. In addition, if you choose to delay collecting each year, up to age 70, your benefits are increased by 8%.
If you were born in … Your full retirement age is …
1937 or earlier 65
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943-1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 or later 67

 

 

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

When applying for social security benefits bring the appropriate information for your application to be approved. This includes information on:

applying for social security benefits

If you are applying for Retirement or Medicare:

Information about you

  • Your date and place of birth and Social Security number;
  • The name, Social Security number and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate);
  • The names of any unmarried children under 18, 18-19 and in secondary school or disabled before age 22;
  • Your bank or other financial institution’s Routing Transit Number and the account number.
  • Your citizenship status;
  • Whether you or anyone else has ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income on your behalf (if so, we will also ask for information on whose Social Security record you applied);
  • Whether you have used any other Social Security number;
  • If you are applying for retirement benefits, the month you want your benefits to begin; and
  • If you are within 3 months of age 65, whether you want to enroll in Medical Insurance (Part B of Medicare).

Information about work

  • The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year;
  • The amount of money earned last year and this year. If you are filing for benefits in the months of September through December, you will also need to estimate next year’s earnings;
  • A copy of your Social Security Statement or a record of your earnings. If you do not have a Statement, you can view your Social Security Statement online by creating an account and signing in with us. Even if you do not have a record of your earnings or you are not sure if they are correct, please fill out the application. We will help you review your earnings when you apply;
  • The beginning and ending dates of any active U.S. military service you had before 1968;
  • Whether you became unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions at any time within the past 14 months. If “Yes,” we will also ask the date you became unable to work;
  • Whether you or your spouse have ever worked for the railroad industry;
  • Whether you have earned Social Security credits under another country’s social security system; and
  • Whether you qualified for or expect to receive a pension or annuity based on your own employment with the Federal government of the United States or one of its States or local subdivisions.

Documents to bring with you

  • your original birth certificate or other proof of birth [more info] (You may also submit a copy of your birth certificate certified by the issuing agency);
  • proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States [more info];
  • a copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) (e.g., DD-214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) if you had military service before 1968; [more info]; and
  • a copy of your W-2 form(s) [more info] and/or self-employment tax return [more info] for last year.

If you are a Spouse or Divorced Spouse

You may be asked to provide any of the following documents to show that you are eligible

  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States [More Info];
  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968;
  • W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year.
  • Final divorce decree, if applying as a divorced spouse; and
  • Marriage certificate.

If you are a child

  • Your birth certificate or other proof of birth;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States [More Info];
  • U.S. military discharge paper(s); and
  • W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year.

Apply for social security benefits

You Can Apply For Social Security

Online – Fill out the Social Security Retirement/Medicare Benefit Application to apply for retirement, spouse’s, ex-spouse’s or Medicare benefits.

By phone – Call 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778.

In personCall to make an appointment and visit your local Social Security office.

If you do not live in the U.S. or one of its territories you can contact the nearest U.S. Social Security office, U.S. Embassy or consulate.

Top 12 Questions About Social Security Benefits Answered

We get tons of questions about Social Security Benefits, SSI, disability, death and spousal benefits, how to apply, getting benefits at age 62 and more. We have picked the top 12 issues people have questions about and have answered them below. Scroll down below to see our list.

12 Questions About Social Security