How to Set Up VA Direct Deposit for Benefits

Updated: November 29, 2022

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    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays disability, pension and education benefits associated with your military service. You can get these payments quickly and safely when you set up VA direct deposit to your bank account. Setting up and changing your VA direct deposit is simple as long as you know where to go. The VA will even help you get a free checking account if you need one.

    Check out our guide below for everything related to VA direct deposits.

    What Is Direct Deposit?

    Direct deposit allows entities to send money straight to your bank account instead of giving you a check, cash or another form of payment.

    Employers and agencies like the VA make direct deposits using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, which allows them to transfer funds between banks electronically.

    Direct Deposit vs. Check: What’s Better?

    Direct deposit is a safer and more reliable way to receive your payment because paper checks are susceptible to fraud and loss, according to the Social Security Administration.

    They also cost a lot of money. Paper checks cost 92 cents more to issue than electronic payments, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, which also predicted that electronic payments would save taxpayers more than $1 billion over ten years.

    How to Set Up VA Direct Deposit

    To set up VA Direct Deposit, you must first have a VA account. To get a VA account, you must enroll in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

    If you have served since 1982, you already have a DEERS enrollment. But if you separated from service before 1982, you must enroll in DEERS first. You can do that by calling 1-800-827-1000. Choose option 7.

    Once you enroll in DEERS, you can set up your VA direct deposit.

    How to Set Up VA Direct Deposit With an Existing Bank Account

    First, sign up for an eBenefits VA account here. The system will verify your eligibility and prompt you to set up a username, password and a two-factor authentication method.

    Once you set up your VA account, you can navigate to the “profile” button and select “direct deposit information.”

    Then, you will set up your direct deposit using your bank account and routing numbers.

    How to Set Up VA Direct Deposit If You Don’t Have A Bank Account

    If you receive disability, pension or education benefits from the VA but don’t have a bank account, the VA will help you get one through the Veterans Benefit Banking Program (VBBP). The VBBP allows veterans with a qualifying direct deposit to get an account for free at a participating bank or credit union.

    To enroll in the program, contact one of the banks or credit unions listed here. Make sure you mention the veterans benefit banking program.

    How to Change Your Direct Deposit Information

    If you change bank accounts, make sure you also change your VA disability direct deposit information. There are a few ways to do this.

    How to Change Your VA Direct Deposit Information Online

    The simplest way to change your VA direct deposit information is to log onto the VA website.

    Then, follow these steps:

    1. Log in to VA.gov.
    2. Click on the drop-down menu next to your name and select “profile.”
    3. On the menu on the left side of the “profile” page, choose “direct deposit information,” or you can click this link.
    4. You will see two boxes, one for “disability and pension” and one for “education “benefits, along with a summary of your current direct deposit information. Click “Edit” on either box to update your information. You will need your routing and account number.
    5. Make sure you update this information in both boxes when appropriate.

    While on the “profile” page, check to see that the rest of your contact information and personal information is correct. You can also access your VA payment history on the direct deposit page.

    How to Change Your VA Direct Deposit Information by Phone

    You can change your VA direct deposit information by calling the VA’s direct deposit line at 1-877-838-2778 or its main line at 1-800-827-1000.

    If you reside outside of the United States, you can call the VA at 1-918-781-7550.

    You will need your new bank account and routing number for the account you want to use.

    How to Change your VA Direct Deposit Information in Person

    You can also change your VA direct deposit by going to a VA regional office and filling out an SF-1199a, the VA direct deposit form. You’ll need to show ID and provide your new routing and account numbers. You can find a list of regional VA locations here.

    How to Change Your VA Direct Deposit Information by Mail

    The VA lists three possible ways of updating your direct deposit information: online, by phone and in person.

    The VA website does not provide instructions for changing your direct deposit information by mail.

    However, under certain circumstances, you may be able to update your direct deposit info this way. Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 for instructions for sending that information to your regional processing center.

    How Long Does it Take the VA to Update Direct Deposit Information?

    VA direct deposit changes should show on your account within three business days.

    The VA releases payments several days before they are due, so you change your direct deposit information at least seven business days before your next anticipated payment.

    Keep your existing bank account open long enough to ensure the VA’s direct deposit hits your new account.

    Does the VA Require Direct Deposit?

    The VA has mandated electronic payments since 2013. Through VBBP, the VA will help you get a free checking account with a partner bank, but if you don’t want to do that, you can receive payment via a Treasury-issued Direct Express debit card.

    These debit cards don’t have as much protection against fraud as traditional bank accounts do. Additionally, you won’t be able to deposit funds from other sources to your Direct Express debit card. You’ll also only get one free ATM withdrawal per month.

    VA Disability Payment Schedule for 2022

    The official VA disability pay date is the first of the month. The VA pays in arrears, meaning your payment covers the previous month’s due, not the upcoming month. For example, VA payments received Sept. 1 include disability benefits for August.

    Actual VA disability direct deposit dates may vary because the VA sends the money early to ensure you receive it by the first of the month. Some banks release these direct deposits immediately, while others may hold them for a few days. If the first of the month falls on a Monday, a holiday or a weekend, it will likely hit your bank account a business day prior.

    Visit our VA benefits direct deposit schedule to view VA disability pay dates in 2 022.

    The VA usually pays education benefits such as military housing allowance on the first of the month but incidental expenses like tuition stipends and other GI Bill payments may come at any point during the month.

    What If You Didn’t Get Your VA Direct Deposit?

    If you didn’t get your VA benefits direct deposit, first make sure you were entitled to one by checking out your VA payment history. This tool shows you all the payments the VA issued to you for disability, pension and education benefits.

    You can also call the main VA line at 1-800-827-1000 to check your payment history and report missing payments.

    When Does the VA Send Your First Disability Payment?

    On average, the VA benefits direct deposit time is about 15 days from your award date. Call the main VA line if you don’t receive your first payment after 15 days.

    Written by Teresa Tennyson

    Teresa Tennyson is a journalist for Veteran.com. She is a retired army officer who served in several countries in the Middle East. Tennyson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in business administration with a finance certificate from UCLA.

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