Message for U.S. Citizens: Choose Direct Deposit for Federal Benefits

Message for U.S. Citizens
December 11, 2019
Choose Direct Deposit for Federal Benefits

Each month, the U.S. Embassy in Quito mails out several hundred federal benefits checks, including those from social security, veterans affairs, IRS, and other federal agencies.  Unfortunately, the majority of these are returned by Correos del Ecuador, the local mail service, as undeliverable due to incomplete addresses.  This process represents a significant waste of government resources.  More importantly, it means individuals who should be receiving federal benefits are not receiving them in a timely manner.

Correos del Ecuador’s delivery requirements have recently become more stringent.  While in the past Correos del Ecuador would attempt to deliver even with a partial address, now they confirm the validity of addresses before accepting checks and reject those that are undeliverable.  The Embassy must return all rejected checks to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

To avoid problems with physical checks, the federal government strongly encourages federal benefit recipients to choose direct deposit.  Indeed, Federal Regulation 31 CFR Part 208 requires individuals who are physically in the United States to convert federal benefit paper checks to direct deposit in many circumstances.  Direct deposit is safer, easier, and more convenient.

If you are still receiving physical checks, consider switching to direct deposit. Contact your corresponding federal agency for assistance:

Social Security benefits

Contact the Regional Federal Benefits Unit in Santo Domingo at

Still want to receive a physical check from the Social Security Administration, but have not been receiving yours recently?  Please contact the Regional Federal Benefits Unit in Santo Domingo to ensure they have your full, deliverable mailing address listed.

VA benefits

Fill out the International Direct Deposit form and mail, email, or fax it to the address at the bottom of the form.

OPM benefits

You can make your change on your online retirement account at

Internal Revenue Service

Also, consider selecting direct deposit when filing your annual tax return, in order to expedite receipt of any refund.  Information about direct deposit of tax refunds is available from the Internal Revenue Service.