I receive a lot of emails asking how to change the account to which benefits are paid from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This includes disability, education, and survivor benefits. There are three ways to change your account: online, via telephone, or via the mail. Changing direct deposit for VA benefits will make sure that your payment arrives to the right account on time.
The VA says that the fastest and easiest way to change your account information is via their eBenefits system. Of course, this isn’t fast or easy if you don’t have an existing account.
First, you’ll have to create a DS Login. Depending on your status, you might be able to complete this process online OR you might have to receive a verification code via the regular mail.
Once you have a DS Login, I’m assured that it is very easy to change your direct deposit information. I can’t see those screens because I don’t have VA disability payments. (If you do, I’d love to get a comment or an email!)
While setting up a DS Login can take a little time and effort, I still encourage you to set up an account. Once you have online access, you can do everything electronically and have instant confirmation of your actions. In addition to changing bank accounts, the eBenefits system can be used to file disability claims, schedule VA health appointments, and access educational benefits.
If you do not have a DS Login to use the eBenefits system, or if you are having trouble, then you can change your direct deposit account information via the telephone or regular mail. The telephone number to call is 1-877-838-2778. I have heard reports of long waits and recordings telling people to call back later. While using the telephone can require a long wait, you can get the name of the representative, which will hopefully help to ensure that your change is made properly.
The last way to change your direct deposit information is via the mail. The benefit is that it doesn’t require waiting on hold or setting up a DS Login account. However, you have no confirmation that a mail change has been processed. Download and print the VA Form 24-0296, Direct Deposit Enrollment. Despite its name, you use the same form to change accounts. Mail your form to the address listed. Keep your old bank account open until your deposits start arriving into your new account.
Updating your accounts should not be hard, but it does take a little effort. As I said above, signing up for electronic account access may take a little extra time at the beginning, but it will be worth it