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Federal Benefits

Federal Benefits and Social Security

What is the Mission of the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU)?

The Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) of the American Embassy in Buenos Aires assists U.S. citizens, Argentineans, and third country nationals who receive benefits from the Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

 

What Services do we provide? Choose one of the following options:

Contact us:

The Federal Benefits Unit operates on an appointments-only system. To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form.  Please ensure that you complete all your contact information.  We normally respond to e-mail inquiries within 5-working days. Please only send one e-mail regarding your issue.

Mailing Address:

Federal Benefits Unit  
American Embassy

Av. Colombia 4300

1425, Capital Federal

Argentina

E-mail address:  SJRegion@ssa.gov

Hours of Operation:
Monday through Fridays from 8.00 am to 11.30 am, except the FIRST and THIRD Wednesday of the month.

Holiday closures:
Please access the schedule of the days on which the Embassy will be closed.  http://argentina.usembassy.gov/holidays4.html


How to contact the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM)?

Telephone Number:
(202) 606-0500

Website: http://www.opm.gov/

E-mail address: retire@opm.gov

Mailing address:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center

P. O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017

 OPM Publications of Interest -

 Survivors Benefits for Children: http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/pamphlets/ri25-27.pdf

Thinking about Retirement? http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/pamphlets/ri83-11.pdf

Life Events and Your Retirement Benefits http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/pamphlets/ri38-126.pdf

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How to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs?
You may obtain contact information for the VA at the following address: www.va.gov/landing2_contact.htm

For more information on VA Services and Benefits for U.S. Veterans Living Abroad www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/foreign/index.htm

Veterans Affairs Publications of Interest -

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors 2013 Edition - http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book.asp

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How to contact the Department of Labor (DOL)?
www.dol.gov

The Department of Labor website offers information on benefits programs such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and workers' compensation programs, (Black Lung, FECA, Longshore).

 DOL - Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/about.htm

The Division of Federal Employees' Compensation adjudicates new claims for benefits and manages ongoing cases; pays medical expenses and compensation benefits to injured workers and survivors; and helps injured employees return to work when they are medically able to do so.

 ______________________________________________________________________________

 How to contact the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)?
www.rrb.gov

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) administers comprehensive retirement-survivor and unemployment-sickness benefit programs for the nation's railroad workers and their families. The RRB also administers certain Social Security benefit payments and railroad workers' Medicare coverage.

What Social Security Services do we provide?

Below, please find a list of some of the services we provide on behalf of the Social Security Administration.

The “my Social Security” internet service is not available to individuals with overseas mailing addresses. 

  • Request a proof of income or benefits verification letter
  • Social Security Earnings Statement
  • Applying for Social Security Card
  • Enrollment in the Direct Deposit Program
  • Changes of Address and Disenrollment from Medicare Parts A and B
  • Enrollment in the Direct Deposit Program
  • Applying for Social Security Benefits
  • Enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B (Medical and Hospital Insrurance)
  • Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (FEQ) - SSA-7161 and SSA-7162
  • Accepting Full Callendar Month Reports
  • Report the death of a beneficiary
  • How do I earn Social Security credits and how many do I need to qualify for benefits?
  • How do I pay Social Security credits if I am living overseas?

 


For all services, you will need to schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form .

Request a proof of income or benefits verification letter

If you need proof that you are receiving Social Security benefits, you can request a benefit verification letter by visiting the FBU, by appointment only. This letter is sometimes called a "budget letter," a "benefits letter," a "proof of income letter," or a "proof of award letter.  To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form.

Social Security Earnings Statements

The Social Security Administration has suspended the field office issuance of Social Security Earnings Statements.  However, an individual can download and complete the Form SSA-7004, Request for Social Security Statement, then print, sign, and mail it to request a statement. The form SSA-7004 can be printed from the following link: https://www.socialsecurity.gov/hlp/global/hlp-statement-7004-revi.htm

To learn how to earn Social Security Credits please read: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf
 

Applying for Social Security Card:  You may apply for an original or replacement Social Security Card at the Federal Benefits Unit.

For all services, you will need to schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form. 

Who is eligible for a Social Security Card? U.S. Citizens and Non-Citizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a Social Security number.

What documents will you need at the time of application? http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm.

Read more about Non-Citizen requirements at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10096.pdf.

U.S. Citizen Children Born in Argentina

Children born in Argentina and documented as U.S. Citizens through the Consular Report of Birth Abroad ("CRBA") process must apply for a Social Security Card.  They may apply for the card after completing the CRBA process and obtaining a U.S. passport. At the time of application, you will need the CRBA, U.S. Passport, and Argentine Birth certificate (en forma literal) for the child, as well as valid identification for the parent (U.S. passport).

Non-Resident Aliens / Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Several classes of non-resident aliens are required to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to file U.S. taxes.  To obtain an ITIN, you must file IRS Form W-7 with the Internal Revenue Service.  You may obtain a W-7 form from the Consular Section's U.S. Citizens Services (ACS) Unit, by appointment only, or via the Internet at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf.


Changes of Address

If you receive Social Security Benefits and moved from the United State, or any other country, to Argentina you should report your new mailing address to the Federal Benefits Unit.

Please note that the mailing address you provide should be a foreign address.   You should not provide the Social Security Administration with the Miami address provided to you by your private mail courier, since this could cause temporary suspension of your benefits when the SSA learns that you are living outside of the United States.

To update your address, you need to fill out a form SSA-21 (Supplement to Claim of Person outside the United States). You can download the form at: www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-21.pdf

Note: Question #9 on the form SSA-21 captures if you want to request Medicare disenrollment.

At the time of your appointment, please bring this form together with your passport and your naturalization certificate, if you are a naturalized citizen.

You must make an appointment with the Federal Benefits Unit to submit your completed form and identity document. To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form.

Enrollment in the Direct Deposit Program

Social Security Beneficiaries overseas have three options for receiving their benefits via direct deposit:

  1. Direct Deposit to a U.S. Bank Account – You will need to supply the U.S. account information to the Federal Benefits Unit. The best way to provide your U.S. Bank information to the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form.
  2. Direct Deposit to an Argentine Bank Account – You will need to obtain a SSA-1199 from the Federal Benefits Unit. You must make an appointment with the Federal Benefits Unit to request this form. To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form.
  3. Direct Express - http://www.usdirectexpress.com/.

  

Applying for Social Security Benefits

Applicants residing in Argentina may apply for Retirement, Medicare Only, or Auxiliary Spouse benefits online at: https://secure.ssa.gov/iCLM/rib or for Disability benefits at https://secure.ssa.gov/iCLM/dib.  

For an overview of the information the Social Security Administration Requests on the internet application, please visit the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10523.pdf

You may view a short demo video on how to apply for benefits online at the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices/planners/Online_Application/oa.htm 

If you do not meet the above category of beneficiary, you can request an appointment to file an application by e-mailing SJRegion@ssa.gov.

Please click on the following links for additional information on:

The number of work credits needed for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you became disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.  Check the following link for the rules that apply: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/credits3.htm

Enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B (Medical and Hospital Insurance)

 Please note that Medicare does not provide any coverage for medical or hospital services outside of the United States.  

You can apply for Medicare online at the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly

For official information on Medicare coverage outside the U.S., please review the pamphlet Medicare Coverage Outside the U.S. at:  http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11037.pdf

For additional information on Medicare, please visit the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043.html


Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (FEQ)

In addition to relying on beneficiaries (a retired person or family member) to report events that may affect their benefits, SSA contacts beneficiaries outside the United States annually or biennially (every two years) to verify their current status if they have a foreign address on record.

This year SSA mailed the questionnaire to beneficiaries receiving their own benefits whose social security number ended in 00-49, beneficiaries over the age of 90, or to beneficiaries who have representative payees (person receiving benefits on behalf of a minor or disabled person). Selected beneficiaries receive the form in the mail with an envelope to the SSA facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

SSA will send a follow-up notice in October 2014. Failure to provide the required completed questionnaire by December 2014 will result in suspension of benefits effective the payment due on March 3.

Accepting Full Calendar Month Reports

Certain non-U.S. Citizens can receive Social Security regular monthly benefit payments after residing lawfully in the United States of America for one full calendar month. They are required to live in the U.S. for one month each time they are outside of the U.S. for six full consecutive months and wish to receive payments.

This requirement applies to beneficiaries eligible to receive a payment but who:

• Are not a U.S. citizen, or

•  Were not initially eligible for monthly benefits before January 1, 1985, or;

•  Have not resided in the U.S. for at least five years.

 You must report completing your full-calendar month to receive payment.

Once you have completed your full calendar month visit, you must present the following documents to the Federal Benefits Unit:

      • Passport with date stamp entry into the United States.

  • Plane ticket stubs associated with the travel dates on the passport
  • Hotel receipts or statements of individuals specifying the dates the person provided the beneficiary with lodging. The person signing the letter must provide their address, telephone number and date the letter. The statement does not need to be notarized.

 We will ask you to complete and sign a statement that includes:

 - the dates you entered and left the U.S.;

- the address at which you stayed; and

- a statement that you did not go outside the U.S. at any time during the month you were present in the U.S

 You must make an appointment with the Federal Benefits Unit to submit your evidence related to completing your full calendar month. To schedule an appointment or to obtain information, the best way to contact the Federal Benefits Unit is by using our online form.

Report the Death of a Beneficiary

You can report the death of a beneficiary by using our online form.

How do I earn Social Security credits and how many do I need to     qualify for benefits?
 
We use your total yearly earnings to figure your Social Security credits. The amount needed for a credit in 2014 is $1,200. You can earn a maximum of four credits for any year. The amount needed to earn one credit increases automatically each year when average wages increase.
You must earn a certain number of credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. The number of credits you need depends on your age when you apply and the type of benefit application. No one needs more than 40 credits for any Social Security benefit. During your lifetime, you probably will earn more credits than the minimum number you need to be eligible for benefits. These extra credits do not increase your benefit amount. Your average earnings over your working years determine how much your monthly payment will be
If you are self-employed, you earn Social Security credits the same way employees do (one credit for each $1,200 in net earnings, but no more than four credits per year). Special rules apply if you have net annual earnings of less than $400. For more information, you can read the Publication ”How you earn credits” at this link http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf 
 
How do I pay Social Security Credits if I am living overseas?

U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad may need to file and pay taxes to earn Social Security Credits from their work. If you are not a U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien then you do not qualify to pay Social Security credits while living abroad. To check the filing requirement to earn Social Security credits as a .S. Citizens or US Resident Alien abroad please visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) webpage to complete the proper IRS Tax Form depending on your situation: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/U.S.-Citizens-and-Resident-Aliens-Abroad---Filing-Requirements 
Important information on where, when and how to file if you are living abroad may be found at the IRS web page at this link: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/U.S.-Citizens-and-Resident-Aliens-Abroad---Where-and-When-to-File-and-Pay
For detailed information on Foreign Electronic Payments to the IRS please visit http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Foreign-Electronic-Payments
Further Inquiries or concerns regarding U.S. Taxes should be directed to the IRS or a private U.S. tax preparation agent