Skip to main content

Do I have to use a government benefit card to continue receiving a benefit?

You may have a choice of how to receive your government benefits. Your options depend on the type of benefits you are receiving and the rules set by the government agency that has arranged for the card. Some benefits, such as needs-tested benefits in certain states, may only be available through the government benefit card.

You may be able to choose to have your benefits directly deposited into your bank account if the state government agency offers that option. However, if you do not have a bank account and the state government agency does not offer paper checks, a government benefit card may be your only option. View our guide to selecting a lower risk account for some tips.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has mandated that all federal benefits – like veterans’ benefits or Social Security benefits –be paid electronically. There are limited exceptions. If you apply for federal benefits, you must choose either direct deposit to a bank account or Direct Express, which is the government benefit card offered by the Treasury Department.


If you don’t have a bank account but you do have your own prepaid card, you may be able to have your benefits directly deposited to that card. Ask the entity that provides the benefits if you can have them deposited to your own card.

Was this answer helpful to you?

Please do not share any personally identifiable information (PII), including, but not limited to: your name, address, phone number, email address, Social Security number, account information, or any other information of a sensitive nature.