Social Security Direct Deposit in the Philippines

logo_gd_smallAmericans receiving government pensions may have those pensions direct deposited to their Philippine bank accounts.  Participating banks include the following followed by the fees each charges per direct deposit to a U.S. dollar account in the Philippines.  These fees were correct as of June 2007.  If anyone has a correction or update please leave a comment below.

Allied Banking Corporation – $3.00
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) – $3.00
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) – $5.00
Land Bank of the Philippines – $5.00
Maybank – $3.00
Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) – $3.00
China Bank – $3.00
RCBC – $3.00 to $5.00
Banco de Oro – Unknown
Bank of Commerce (BOC) – $5.00 to $7.00
Manila Bank – $1.00
Security Bank – $5.00
United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) – $4.00 to $6.00
Metrobank – $3.00
Philippine National Bank – $7.00

The banks with variable fees charge more for larger direct deposits.

If you’d like to sign up for direct deposit in the Philippines go to the bank you have chosen and ask for the direct deposit enrollment form.  They will help you fill it out and the bank will submit the form to Social Security representatives in Manila. U.S. Veteran’s benefits may also be direct deposited.

The account into which the funds are paid must be an individual account.  A Social Security concern is that benefits may continue to be paid and spent long after the pensioner has expired.  A large Social Security operation is lodged at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  A main responsibility is ensuring that Social Security recipients are still alive.  This often includes annual letters to which you must respond or your benefits will be suspended.

More information is available at the U.S. Embassy website: http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3032.html

Disadvantages of direct deposit to Philippine banks:

  • The account may not be joint with your wife.  This could present problems in accessing pension funds if you are incapacitated.
  • You will receive periodic letters from Social Security to confirm that you have not deceased.  If these are not received or answered your benefits may be suspended.
  • Fee as shown above.  There are no fees for direct deposit to U.S. banks.  If you receive Social Security and VA benefits, you’ll pay two fees.

Comments (25) Write a comment

  1. hello sir,

    Planning to get SRRV for my partner after our exit this year…
    Is there any particular list of banks that the deposits can be done if so,? which banks? or all Philippine banks will do….

    He had accounts in a Philippine bank already , does he needs still to do drect deposit his pension to this PH Bank or we can just attach the statement of account of his bank abroad showing the pension is on going?

    Do you think we can do the application in Cebu Immig? as we also lived in the country…

    Or If He had an apartment under his name instead of the 10k usd deposit will this acceptable?

    thank you so much!

    Jy

    p.s
    your site is very informative.

    Reply

    • Here is a link to the banks affiliated with the SRRV program: http://www.pra.gov.ph/main/banks?page=1&pcat=bank

      When I applied for my SRRV I showed proof of routine pension deposits to my bank. My pension was deposited to my U.S. bank and I re-deposited it to my bank in the Philippines.

      Application for an SRRV is to the Philippine Retirement Authority, not immigration. There is a Cebu PRA office. See http://www.pra.gov.ph/main/contactus

      No, the apartment will not substitute for the bank deposit. After the SRRV is approved and the funds transferred, there are options to withdraw fund for certain investments.

      Hope this helps.

      Bob and Carol

      Reply

  2. Your site and THIS PAGE are very helpful – the best I have come across during my search. I live in Canada, and am hoping to get a SRRV as I am not yet married to my woman. So I may have to go the 13a-route. Thank you very much; I know maintaining a site is a tedious process sometimes!

    Reply

    • Donald,

      Thanks for your kind words. The 13a is certainly the most rational choice, but you can get an SRRV even if married to a Philippine citizen.

      Bob

      Reply

  3. In response to concern of Rich:

    DIRECT DEPOSIT

    The no joint account/no ATM account policy for direct deposit accounts was the agreement between the participating Philippine banks and US Embassy when they established the direct deposit program in the Philippines. It is the banks prerogative to establish such rule to prevent fraudulent withdrawals. Social Security or the US government does not have the power to compel the Philippine banks to break their rules. Some bank branches will say that they can allow joint accounts/ATM accounts for direct deposit payment of your Social Security payments. But this will create problems later on when their head office does an internal audit.

    The no joint account/no ATM account policy was the agreement between the participating Philippine banks and US Embassy when they established the direct deposit program in the Philippines. It is the banks prerogative to establish such rule to prevent fraudulent withdrawals. Either you accept their rule or make other arrangements.

    Stop thinking that the Philippines is an extension of the US and that US government laws needs to be followed here. In case you forget, the Philippines is an independent country.

    ANNUAL QUESTIONNAIRE

    The questionnaire form is one of the means of Social Security to check for any changes in a beneficiary’s status that might affect their entitlement to payment. Some beneficiaries will receive the form every other year while others will receive it annually. The forms are printed out and sent by a contracting office in the U.S. . If you are scheduled to be sent this form, they will mail this in June. If no response is received by 60 days, they will send another form by September or October.

    There is a bar code that only the contracting office uses and prints out on the form. Once you completed the form and sends it to the US address, the contracting office scans this directly to the computer. In January if the US office does not receive the form, they send out a list of suspended beneficiaries to the different SSA field offices.

    Facts:

    * No one at Social Security (here or abroad) knows for certain if a particular beneficiary will be sent this form
    * No one at Social Security (here or abroad) can print out the form with the bar code – only the US contracting office can do that.
    * The US contracting office will need to receive your completed form in order to prevent your name to be put on the suspended file list. So you will need to send them the form directly.
    * There is no “list” that Social Security (here or abroad) can update even if your INSIST on sending them a completed form. If you insist in sending the completed form to the SSA office and not to the address indicated on the form, the SSA office will either forward the form to the appropriate office or discard them.

    The SSA office in Manila will probably discard it. They will just tell you what you want to hear and do nothing about it. If you are congratulating yourself that you have been “proactive” and forced the SSA office in Manila to accept your form that is why you have not been suspended, you are deluding yourself. Your benefits have probably not been interrupted because you are not yet in line to receive the form this year. Or you were already on the suspended list and the form was just received in time for them to reinstate your benefits. Only when a beneficiary is suspended can SSA Manila update their record.

    Reply

    • “The no joint account/no ATM account policy was the agreement between the participating Philippine banks and US Embassy when they established the direct deposit program in the Philippines.”
      Were did you find this agreement ?
      I have called banks in the Philippines an USA Embassy none has heard of such a policy or treaty (” from Old French traité “assembly, agreement, treaty,”)
      Other than fact that it is banking rules no ATM/no joint account and no online banking , Although none seems to know where such a rule came from .

      Social Security Reply is thus ” Are duties is to insure your payment If in tiled by law ”
      I do agree that Banks in the Philippines do not have to abide by USA law . I understand perfectly what country I’m a quest of . With that said after speaking to several High ranking bank Officials It is their understanding the policy is forced .
      When one speaks of Treaties , there must be a written agreement and that falls under the freedom of information act , If there is such an agreement where is the paper work ?

      What to do if you do not receive an SSA-7162 :
      Stay Proactive is what I’m Trying to Relay , If you do not get the SSA-7162 in the mail by Late December ( The Philippines Post office is not the most Reliable thing on earth One better be calling) They will tell you to wait until the block list ( correct ) However if you are on the block list and you wait the 2 to 3 weeks to find out if you are on the block list , you are cutting into the time that it will take them to inter the SSA_ 7162. I am going to fire the form off every year around the Last of December , They have no choice but to enter the form , I send it certified mail , That way if they do not process it and my benefits get cut off, I fire a call of to a congressman ( trust me congressmen do greatly help in these matters ) they will only make that same mistake once . I agree Manila would probably wad the thing up and throw in the trash or It would sit on a desk for a few weeks( they are locals hired and care little of a Congressional inquire on anyone’s behalf or understand the impact) Since Everything must go though the international office , It is better just to deal with them Directly and cut out Manila ( Manila is a middle man ) I know at least 5 persons here that have been suspended.
      I have also helped all 5 get the benefits REINSTATED , 3 within 7 days , 2 it took 3 weeks .

      FACT: HOW TO FILE FORM SSA 7162 IF YOU ARE “OF RECORD” AS LIVING OUTSIDE THE USA WHILE COLLECTING SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS (AND GET YOUR BENEFITS REINSTATED IF THEY HAVE BEEN
      CUT OFF BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T FILE IT

      I called the SSA International Desk and got the following information about how SS recipients living in Philippines can get their benefits restored as quickly as possible if the benefits are frozen because of failure to file the SS 7162 form every year:

      VERY IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE THAT YOU WRITE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON THE FORM OR IT WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. Print carefully and legibly.

      There are four ways you can do this:

      1. You can fill out and sign the form and send it to the local embassy and they’ll forward it to the international desk. However, although there is a “paperless system” wherein embassies can send this kind of document direct by (non public) fax number to the international desk, a lot of embassies do not use this system and prefer to use snail mail. This can substantially delay the receipt of benefits.

      2. You can mail the form to the SSA international desk using the address given on their website (the reliability of this depends solely on the reliability of mail in the country from which it is being sent). (I certainly do not recommend this option…)

      3. You can send the signed form via fedex or DHL to their special non-PO box “courier” street address, which is:
      Social Security Administration
      Office of International Operations
      1718 Woodlawn Drive
      Baltimore, Maryland 21207

      4. You can FAX the form to the international desk using the following fax numbers:

      If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 00 to 16: 410-965-5882
      If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 17 to 32: 410-966-6782
      If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 33 to 49: 410-965-8054
      If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 50 to 66: 410-965-9409
      If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 57 to 82: 410-966-5552
      If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 83 to 99: 410-966-1042

      These fax numbers are not published anywhere, so print and save them.

      HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET YOUR BENEFITS REINSTATED?

      I was told that once the international desk has “received the form into the work flow” it will take approximately one month for the benefit deposits/checks to resume. You will be paid retroactively whatever amounts were withheld once the deposits resume.

      NOTE that this 30 day period does not begin to run UNTIL THE FORM HAS BEEN RECEIVED AND ENTERED. If you are sending it to the US Embassy you must add whatever time it takes them to get the form to the International desk in the USA.

      I asked why the US embassy demands that the forms be mailed as well as faxed. She said that this requirement is not one imposed by SSA, since if it was, they wouldn’t accept the forms by fax either. She said that they have no control over rules and procedures utilized by the embassy. Of course the Embassy says they can not force or tell the SSA anything .

      Here is the Form : http://photos.state.gov/libraries/adana/231771/ssforms/ssa-7162.pdf

      For myself: I am not sitting around waiting on the Philippines post office that may Deliverer or not . By Mid December, I”ll Fax mine over to the International Office , and follow it up with a call .

      I had another Run around also with Manila , I stopped medicare as I have VA Benefits anyway . Manila did not inter the information correctly in the computer , So my deposit was shorted by half . Of course their mistake was caught and an apology with promise the money would be handed over in about two months . Well that answer was not good for me . So I called the International office got it straightened out and with in 5 days the money was deposited in my account .

      If You Are Already Receiving Benefits

      If you are receiving or are already entitled to Social Security benefits and wish to contact us, use the numbers shown below. You will need to look at the last two digits of your Social Security claim number in order to determine which number to use.

      Last Two Digits Are: Phone Numbers Are:
      between 00 and 24
      410-965-9418
      between 25 and 49
      410-965-6517
      between 50 and 74
      410-965-8064
      between 75 and 99
      410-965-8036
      Lastly , We do not have to deal with the Embassy You can deal Directly with international Operations .

      Reply

      • ” Only when a beneficiary is suspended can SSA Manila update their record.” Manila can not update any of this . international Operation can only do this , so why not save time and deal direct ?
        best time to call is 8am their time , if you leave a message tell them to call no matter time difference.

        nternational Operation is whom they must report to . one can just deal direct with international Operation.

        Reply

  4. Dear Bob ,
    Can you help in a little investigation ? You have meet me in person , so you kow my attitude already , we are both nice guys . However when I do not get answers , well I turn into a blood hound :) being in the military , no means YES …. or you do not get anywhere.

    The account may not be joint with your wife. This could present problems in accessing pension funds if you are incapacitated.

    I know the pin headed Reason behind this , If you die then your spouse can still collect , Well Guess what ? Such a bigoted Remark , Are they kidding anyone ? How much fraud goes on in the USA ? So bob can you help me , I would really like to find out Why this is the Rule , And who placed this rule above what the Social Security laws state ? Also why no online transfer and no ATM card ? Once I find out the Reason Why . I will press this law if it is a state side issues , Because we are in= titled to this benefit( please do not let the Shift of the political winds make anyone fell like scum because you revive Social security ,and they stole our funds basically , For one we all paid into this , for two it is not welfare ) … Once the Check hits your bank account , that is all the control our Government has over it( unless you owe tax ) By Law … So with all that stated . I have myself a condition and I tell you, I might have to go in the hospital for weeks or months for operations . So then what do I do , I have begged to my BPI branch manger , And she will allow my wife to withdraw as long as she has documented prof it is necessary , However this is against the rules of her bank she is doing as a favor , This needs to be a open free account like any other account …

    You will receive periodic letters from Social Security to confirm that you have not deceased. If these are not received or answered your benefits may be suspended.

    The Above is true , And this is the key , If you have not gotten your form by November ,you better be calling them , Now what they will say , Oh wait PO , As this is bar-code and we need that form …. To wait to see if you are on a blocked list in January , Folks all I have to say , Stay proactive with this , do not take a no as an answer , I made them send me another form bar-code or not and I filled it up and sent it to them , then called to make sure I was not on that blocked list , guess what ? I was and I was not delayed for long as I stayed proactive …

    Fee as shown above.

    There are no fees for direct deposit to U.S. banks. If you receive Social Security and VA benefits, you’ll pay two fees.

    The above statement is true , However , BPI only charges 2 dollars , and I opened a peso account with no fees at all … so with that said , I face 80 peso fee , with wells Fargo , my god the exchange rate at the time was suppose to be 42 peso to the dollar , then they hit me with an exchange rate of 35 peso to the dollar , and then on top of that a 200 peso withdraw from BDO foreign transaction ( that will happen at any bank ) then Wells Fargo charged me 5 bucks on top of the bad exchange rate… with this stated , I did use Bank of America , and they wived all fess , but the local banks still hit you with 200 peso plus Bank of America still had bad bad exchange rates …. And that is the Key with using state side banks they will not willing tell you of the Exchange rates ….

    Citi bank , now you can open up account state side then one here in Philippines then transfer for free :) But for myself I like banking in the Philippines and having my money close to home ….. And also Builds up credit here , you have to get a re-pour with the branch manger or no credit here ….

    Hope I helped someone it has taken me 1 year to know all the above and a lot of aggravation .

    please bob can you please find out on the first part of my post why , no ATM , Not being able to add my wife , and not being able to transfer online , I would like to challenge this law …… I have two rules in life , do not mess with my family , and do not mess with my money ……

    Thank you BOB ….

    Reply

    • Richard,

      I can’t really say where these rules for Social Security in the Philippines come from. Probably it’s like Tricare — the perception and/or reality that there is a good potential for fraud in the Philippines. Let’s say an old coot like me kicks the bucket. My wife is totally honest, but let’s say it’s a Filipina with some young kids whose only source of income is the husband’s or boyfriend’s SS check. Is she really going to want to report his death and have the $$$ end? And, what is the recourse for the government to reclaim any money she collects. If she is a Philippine citizen, are they going to extradite her? I doubt it. They just have to swallow the loss. That probably why they have all these rules, drop-dead letters etc.

      I have never wanted to do direct deposit of my SS to a Philippine bank, just for the reasons you state. My SS is direct deposited to my U.S. bank account. I write a check to my Philippine bank U.S. dollar account and after thirty days, I can withdraw the dollars and change them wherever I get the best rate. I use Chinabank. I will shop around for a good rate and then go the the Chinabank branch manager and ask her if she will match the rate. She usually does, so I actually never carry around the U.S. dollars. The money is transferred to a peso account at the rate we have negotiated. So there are no fees of any kind and the rate is as good as it can be (which is pretty lousy now!).

      Hope this helps a little,

      Bob

      Reply

      • Bob , Thank you for your reply , you are 100% correct in the reasons they state for the police( except no one is saying who set the policy ,its not SS I’ve already asked ) With that said , look up the Fraud in the USA , Where as: last year , a mad was collecting checks on his grandma , cousin , and dead wife; fraud probably accounts for at least 2 to 3 billion dollars in the USA … So with that said the policy ( where ever it is coming from ) seems little Paranoid .
        Sorry so long to get back to you , but I wanted to do a little research , I checked 5 banks here all state as you do , but they are unsure of the policy origin , I talked to social security , to Quote ” that is strange that is not SS policy , maybe try the Embassy ” I contacted the Embassy , no reply … And that is pretty wired as they are bound by law to respond ? So in checking the laws , this is how it goes .
        1.Social scrutiny is bound by policy to pay out , once the check is paid , it is up to the treasury department to tack or trace in issues of none receipt or rejected deposit / payment . and the buck stops there .
        2.once you are paid into any account you hold or any one you have designated with social security ( per policy ) , (unless a former Soviet block country , once you leave a blocked country for 6 months you get back pay) , None holds power over those funds/unless you have committed fraud /or owe tax or child support or in jail .
        So I am still trying to find this policy and where or who holds this power to change policy , Once I can find that out,t I have a congressman that can at least get stat an Insight into it ..
        As Far as banks Bob ,Citibank Bank you can make an account in the USA , then an Account here in the Philippines Citibank, free of charge transfer the money . Pretty wired because then in the Citibank account in the Philippines you can add whom ever you wish , give your wife the online Password in the USA account ,all the same thing , correct ?
        Sorry to have taken up so much room, but when I first arrived here I wasted about 100K peso in fees, I could have avoided (there is only one website that goes in depth on this topic , and here we are talking on that website :) So any information you can find out about this policy would be great .
        hope to see you around soon. take care
        your friend
        Rich .

        Reply

        • Rich,

          Just one thing; I don’t think that you can transfer funds from a USA Citibank account to a Citibank Philippines account without charge. Unless things have changed, they operate pretty independently. You’ll have to transfer money via a wire transfer or write a Citibank USA check and deposit it into your Citibank account in the Philippines, just as you would making a deposit to any other bank in the Philippines.

          Good luck!

          Bob

          Reply

          • It is free of charge with Citibank , you must set up the account in the states first, and must set up another account in the Philippines . Wells Fargo also has a free Wire Transfer; the first Wire has to be done in person though.. I wish I would have known about this before I moved here it would have saved me a lot of waiting and delayed deposit and a ton of cash .

            Reply

  5. 1.After many weeks of battling for Social security to change direct deposit ( they just messed it up in Manila )
    2.After being told , while someone giggled on the phone wait a week or so , then they would trace the lost Deposit .\
    3.After calling congressman , I got a better way , if you speak English to accomplish all your social security needs no matter the country you are in ,,,
    4.If your founds are late on direct deposit , by 1pm the same day of your benefit date CALLL …….
    Leave a message they will get back to you ,it is worth the wait ..
    If You Need to Inquire About a New or Replacement Card
    If you are calling about a new or replacement Social Security Number card, call 410-965-9334.

    If You Are Already Receiving Benefits

    If you are receiving or are already entitled to Social Security benefits and wish to contact us, use the numbers shown below. You will need to look at the last two digits of your Social Security claim number in order to determine which number to use.

    Last Two Digits Are: Phone Numbers Are:
    between 00 and 16
    410-965-9418
    between 17 and 32
    410-965-6517
    between 33 and 49
    410-965-8064
    between 50 and 66
    410-965-9398
    between 67 and 82
    410-965-8036
    between 83 and 99
    410-965-8037

    Reply

  6. i am a little confused with the time deposit of $ 10,000 for the classic visa, i am applying for the visa from outside the Philippines, do i make a deposit to a credited bank or wait until i arrive ? do banks in the Philippines accept bank drafts from i.e. banks in England or Ireland
    thanks

    Reply

    • Frank,

      While you can try to apply for the SRRV visa from outside the Philippines, I recommend you come to Manila on a tourist visa and make the application at the PRA offices in Makati. All of the requirements are easy to satisfy with the help of the PRA staff. Some of these, such as police clearances, can be complicated and expensive if you try to do them outside of the Philippines. A Philippine bank which is affiliated with the PRA can help with setting up accounts and then can accept a wire transfer from your English or Irish bank. Just plan on spending a week or two in a nice Makati hotel and at the end you’ll have your SRRV visa.

      I have had my SRRV for five years now. It’s been wonderful. No visits to immigration, no hassles.

      Good luck

      Bob

      Reply

  7. Can you give me more info on setting up a bank account in the Phillipines , from the United States as I am getting ready to retire on Social Security ,in May. I live in Fort Smith AR,
    Thank You Greg Pentz

    Reply

    • Greg,

      Congratulations on your retirement. While you reportedly can open an account in the U.S. at Philippine National bank branches there, I doubt that there are any near you. I’d just bring enough money to live on for the first month and open an account when you get to the Philippines. In the meantime, you probably can use you U.S. bank ATM card to get money in the Philippines as long as it has the “Plus” or “Cirrus” logo on the back and that you notify your bank that you’ll be using the card in the Philippines. The fees may be annoying but once you have a U.S. Dollar account set up you can deposit checks from the U.S., wait 30 days and get your money.

      Bob

      Reply

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  9. for this srrv program some one sei is very exspency lots fee to pay at year is thru? or only woth i read 10000 dollars and 1400 dollars of application? im confuse if is not extra fee is not to bad! i read also we can have the money bak in one year if we like to invest in a condom .but woth if we like to invest in a litel house? with my girl friend name includ in it is possibol?hope u andersten my english thank u so much ,,regards emilio

    Reply

    • Emilio,

      Yes, if you have a pension you have to pay a $1,400 application fee and keep $10,000 in a Philippine bank. There is no annual expense except for a $10 ID card fee. If you take the money out and invest it, there are additional fees.

      Bob
      http://

      Reply

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