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Federal Benefits

Federal Benefits and Social Security

The Buenos Aires Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) offers assistance and advice regarding the United States Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs Department, Department of Labor, Office of Personnel Management, Railroad Board and other federal benefit programs to interested individuals.

You may apply at this office for retirement, spouse, survivor and disability benefits or update your record, if you are already receiving payments from SSA, VA, OPM or any other federal agency. You may report your change of address, death of a beneficiary, a lost or stolen check and request direct deposit of your benefits. Note, that in order to qualify for a Social Security disability or retirement benefit, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes and earned enough Social Security quarters of credit as you cannot buy credits to be insured.

Please contact us via email before coming to the FBU in Buenos Aires, since most issues can be resolved without you having to visit the Federal Benefits Unit. In order to fully utilize the time available from our specialized representatives, services are provided by APPOINTMENT ONLY, therefore we recommend that you call first to obtain advice from the FBU personnel prior to your visit to the Buenos Aires Embassy. Our email address is and your message should be answered within 24 to 48 hours. As a reminder, the Buenos Aires FBU is closed the SECOND and FOURTH Wednesday of the month; window is not available on those two days.

Application Procedures

To apply for a Social Security Number Card or any of our services, arrive timely for your appointment at the Consular Section/FBU Window #17 at the designated date and time. Call or email inadvance of your appointment for more information as to the specific requirements for your particular case. Please download and complete the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS5, prior to your appointment and bring it along with the documentation previously requested from you.

NOTE: Applicants age 12 or older must apply in person. Applicants age 12 and older will also need to submit a letter stating the reasons why they have never obtained a Social Security Number before, present school records, employment records, and travel documents (e.g. passports) to prove continuous residency outside of the United States. Parents applying on behalf of a child under 12 may sign the application on his/her behalf. Applications must always be signed by the applicant if he/she is capable of signing, regardless of his/her age. There is no cost for the issuance of a Social Security card.

Submission of Form 7161/7162

According to the law, the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) in Buenos Aires cannot receive the SSA 7161/7162 forms (known as foreign enforcement questionnaire) to be mailed through the Embassy. FBU Buenos Aires can and will only assist if your benefits have been suspended due to lack of returning this questionnaire to the address established for this purpose. It is advisable that you do not submit this form to your servicing Embassy or Consulate unless your benefits are already suspended. Suspensions go into effect from January to March of every year so it will not be possible to submit them at Posts before that time.

Direct Express Cardholders

  • ATM cash withdrawals outside the U.S. are initially blocked. To allow ATM cash withdrawals outside the United States (U.S.), cardholders must call Direct Express Customer Service at 001-765-778-6290 or 1-888-741-1115 if in the U.S.
  • ATM cash withdrawals outside the U.S. are subject to a $3.00 fee plus 3% of the amount withdrawn. This does not include the surcharge by the ATM owner.
  • Purchases at merchant locations outside of the U.S. will be charged 3% of the purchase amount, including cash received back at the time of the purchase.   
  • Cardholders can obtain teller withdrawals over-the-counter at MasterCard member institutions. SSA does not have a list of the institutions.  
  • The card may not work at all locations, including ATMs, outside the U.S. 
  • The card is serviced by the U.S. bank and not SSA. 
  • If problems exist with the card, including ATMs withdrawals issues, clients should contact Direct Express Customer Service and not SSA at the numbers previously listed or by visiting the Direct Express website at  
  • Question and Answers regarding international use of the card can be found at

More Information

For additional information on Federal Benefits and Social Security matters, please contact us via email at, except the first and last Wednesday of the month.

To inquire about other issues, such as visas, immigration, passports, notarials, etc., contact the corresponding telephone number or call the switchboard operator at (54-11) 5777-4533. We do not have any information about these items.