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Since electronic funds transfers (EFTs) have become commonplace, direct deposit has overtaken the mailing of paper checks as the most popular way to receive recurring payments.  Before you can get direct deposit payments, though, you’ll need to fill out a form providing the payer with your personal and banking information. If the party sending you direct deposit payments is a government agency, the form you need to fill out is SF-1199a.

What Is Form SF-1199a?

Form SF-1199a is a direct deposit sign-up form for anyone who wishes to receive direct deposit payments from a government agency. This includes retirees receiving Social Security benefits, active military service members receiving salaries or veterans receiving pensions. The form establishes a record for you, the government agency and your financial institution that you are entitled to receive payment. It also provides details to instruct the agency on how to send the payment to your account.

Who Should Fill Out Form SF-1199a?

You should fill out SF-1199a if you are entitled to any form of payment from a government agency. A government agency could be paying you for a number of reasons. You could be receiving Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income. You could also have a military salary or a Veterans Affairs (VA) pension. Additionally, you could be receiving Civil Service retirement benefits. Any time a government agency needs to pay someone through direct deposit, the payee will need to fill out and submit this form.


How to Fill Out Form SF-1199a

Form SF-1199a has three distinct sections. You should fill out the first two, and your financial institution should fill out the third. It’s typical to create three copies: one for you, one for the government agency and one for your financial institution. If you’re entitled to payment from more than one government agency, then you’ll have to complete separate forms for each agency.

In the first section, you’ll provide your name, contact information, claim or payroll ID number, type of deposit account (checking account or savings account), account number and type of payment you’ll be receiving. The form provides nine types of payment to choose from. There’s also a space to list your type if it isn’t one of those nine. If the bank account you’re choosing is a joint bank account, you’ll need both your signature and the signature of the other account owner. In the second section, you’ll list the name of the government agency that will be paying you. You’ll also list the mailing address of the agency.

A representative of your bank or financial institution should complete the third section. Take the form to your bank or mail it in to have them fill out this last section. The representative will provide the bank’s name, address, and routing number (also known as a bank transit number). He or she will also provide the title of your deposit account, then print and sign his or her name. This confirms that your account is indeed yours. It also confirms that the financial institution will receive payment from the government agency and deposit it in your account.

How to Submit Form SF-1199a

Once you and your financial institution have completed the entire form, you can send it to the government agency. This could mean mailing your form to your local Social Security office, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another government agency.

Before sending it in, you may wish to keep one copy of the form for yourself and another copy for your bank or credit union. The downloadable form on the IRS website provides three copies for this purpose.


Bottom Line

Receiving payment via direct deposit is convenient for anyone with a bank account, and most prefer it to receiving paper checks. If you wish to receive regular direct deposit payments from any government agency, you’ll need to fill out form SF-1199a.

Tips for Saving Responsibly

  • Before you begin receiving Social Security benefits, you should make sure you’re electing at the optimal time. SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator can help with that. Just enter your income and the year you were born. Then, the calculator will show the annual benefit you can expect whenever you choose to first elect for benefits.
  • Once you have your direct deposit set up, it’s time to focus on growing your balance. To make the most of your savings, consider setting up a high-yield savings account. You can also use SmartAsset’s savings calculator to project your savings years in the future.
  • No matter what kind of payment you’re receiving from what government agency, odds are you could benefit from speaking with a financial advisor to manage money. With SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool, you can talk with an expert who can tweak your savings and retirement plans to best fit you. Just answer a short survey, and the tool will match you with up to three qualified advisors in your area.

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Hunter Kuffel, CEPF® Hunter Kuffel is a personal finance writer with expertise in savings, retirement and investing. Hunter is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in New York City.
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