Let's discuss how to easily set up direct deposit for your Social Security payments in Thailand and Vietnam. Discover the benefits of receiving your payments directly into your local bank account and ensure a smooth and convenient process. Simplify your financial life and avoid the hassle of paper checks with our step-by-step guide.
Did you know the United States Department of the Treasury offers direct deposit of federal benefit payments, including Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to banks in Thailand? What about Vietnam?
Note: If you discover an exception to this information, please contact me directly with the information.
If you sign up for Direct Deposit, the U.S. Treasury will deposit the money directly into your
bank account every month. Because there is no paper check, you don’t have to pick it up at
the Consulate or wait for it to show up in the mail. It cannot be delayed in transit, lost, or
stolen. You do not have to cash it or deposit it at the bank. Instead, the money will be in
your bank account at the same time every month. Also, you don’t have to worry about your
check if you travel. (But you should always update your address with the U.S. government
agency that issues your monthly check.) Because of these advantages, the U.S. Treasury encourages everyone who receives a monthly check from the U.S. government to sign up for Direct Deposit.
Direct Deposit Options
Option One: Direct Deposit to a Bank Account in the U.S.
If you have a U.S. bank account, you can easily set up Direct Deposit. Here’s how it works:
1. Sign up for Direct Deposit. You can sign up online at the U.S. Treasury’s special website
www.godirect.gov. Or, to sign up by mail, fill out FMS Form 1200, then mail it to the
address on the form. You can get this form online from the U.S. Treasury at
2. It might take several weeks for Direct Deposit to begin. During that time, you will
continue to receive your check by whatever method you use currently.
3. Once Direct Deposit begins, you can get your money the same way you would get any
other funds in your U.S. bank account. You can use your ATM card to get your money
from local ATM machines. Or, you can have your U.S. bank transfer money to your local bank account in Thailand. Please note that doing either of these might involve paying ATM or transfer fees. Contact your U.S. bank and your Thai bank to find out about procedures and fees.
When you get Direct Deposits to your Thai bank account the payments are automatically converted to Thai Baht (THB) at the international exchange rate before they are deposited in the account. U.S. dollar payments are not available. IDD (international Direct Deposit) payments sent to Thailand must be in Thai Baht (THB) accounts. The United States Department of the Treasury does not charge fees to make the deposits. However, the Thai banks may charge fees.
Direct deposit is the safest, most convenient and reliable method of receiving your benefits. The payment is electronically transmitted to your bank account and you have immediate access to your funds by the payment date. There are no delays, including missing and stolen checks.
You do not have to do anything if you are currently enrolled in direct deposit. Your payments will continue to be sent to your current bank.
Opening your Thai bank account
Go to a Thai bank branch and ask to open an account. You will need:
- your passport
- your Social Security card
- blank Form SF-1199; you can get this form HERE
- a small amount of money to open the account
Be sure to tell bank staff that the account will be for receiving a U.S. government pension. Bank staff will help you fill out the necessary forms. Be sure to note the fees and any restrictions on the account.
Once Direct Deposit begins, your bank might charge a transaction fee for each Direct
Deposit. Note your money will be available in Thai baht and not USD.
It might take several months for Direct Deposit to begin. During that time, you will
continue to receive your check by whatever method you use currently.
If you wish to sign up for direct deposit to Thailand or switch your direct deposit arrangement to another bank in Thailand, please contact the agency listed below.
Social Security Administration
U.S. Embassy Manila
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Phone No.: +63 2 301 2000 ext. 9 (from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Manila Time, Tuesdays and Thursdays except Philippine and U.S. Holidays)
Department of Veterans Affairs
Phone: +1 (918) 781-7550 (from 9:00am to 5:30pm, Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday)
Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
PO Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017 U.S.A.
Phone: +1-888-767-6738 (from 7:40 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)
Note you will need to fill out the Direct Deposit Form for Thailand
International Direct Deposit (IDD) for U.S. federal benefit payments is available in Vietnam. With this method, your U.S. Social Security payments will be sent electronically to your Vietnam bank account.
It will usually be in your account shortly after the regular payment date. This is the safest way of receiving your benefits.
The U.S. Treasury Department can make payments to almost all banks within the country. SSA does not have a list of host-country banks. In the rare event that a bank is not listed, SSA office will notify the client who will need to open an account at another bank.
It is important to note that the U.S. Treasury Department can only make payments in Vietnamese Dong. Therefore, please ensure that the payment account is in Vietnamese Dong and not U.S. Dollars.
If your address changes, you must inform the Social Security Administration (If you return to live in the U.S., IDD will cease.) To start the IDD enrollment process, complete form SF-1199 for Vietnam. Scan and email the completed form to: FBU.Manila@ssa.gov If you have any question, send an email to FBU.Manila@ssa.gov or call (632) 301-2000 extension 9 which is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, except on Philippines holidays.
Keep in mind you must provide a personal address in Vietnam to the U.S. Social Security Administration in order for them to approve direct deposit payments to a bank in Vietnam.
The bank in Vietnam must be a Vietnam Đồng account. Some people who say they cannot accomplish the direct deposits are talking here about Vietnam bank accounts in U.S. dollars. Those dollar accounts are NOT eligible for International Direct Deposit (IDD).
Some people have mentioned that certain banks DO NOT accept SSA IDD payments, HOWEVER, it is not clear whether the people are referring to Đồng accounts or Dollar accounts.
When attempting to open an account for this purpose, I advise to bring along a Vietnamese friend who can help you clearly communicate your intent to receive US GOVERNMENT direct deposit payments.
Because Vietnamese banks closely track the origins of deposits, you MIGHT only be able to open a zero-balance account, to eventually be funded by electronic transfers, not cash.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has consolidated its overseas operations into several regional offices that provide a full range of SSA services for U.S. citizens residing outside of the United States.
Effective October 1, 2017, individuals residing in Vietnam who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Manila, Philippines, rather than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
Please be advised that as of October 1 2019, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City no longer accepted telephone calls, emails, or walk-in consultations regarding Social Security issues.
For more information or any questions about the services provided at the FBU in Manila, Philippines and how to contact them, please visit their web-page at: www.ssa.gov. You can also reach them at (phone number) 00632-301-2000, extension 9 or (email address) FBU.email@example.com. For comprehensive information on SSA’s services abroad, please visit
SSA’s web-page, “Service Around the World.”