Social Security Benefits While Overseas

Servicing for US citizens living and working overseas is managed through the Federal Benefit Units (FBU) located in US Embassies and Consulates worldwide. A cut-back and consolidation of these units has lead to reduced servicing; long delay times and lack of follow-up.

Individuals who may have never obtained a Social Security number as an infant or when they were living in the United States, can do so by providing documentation to Social Security via their closest FBU. This information at times can be difficult to obtain or may not meet the requirements of the Social Security Administration (foreign documents). Many individuals who need to obtain Social Security numbers in order to maintain foreign banking services due to FATCA face long wait times putting them at risk of having their foreign banks freeze or close accounts.

Retirees in need to information from the Social Security Administration, everything from a change in address to actual application of benefits, often face the same problem of long delays and lack of response from the Social Security Administration or FBUs. The inability to create online accounts from overseas due to the need for a US-based address means these individuals cannot make simple changes to their information, i.e. change the bank where their benefits are to be deposited, that those living domestically can. Individuals who have paid into Social Security should have easy of access to the Social Security Administration and a dedicated team responsible for meeting their needs.