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Jack_be_nimble

Applying for SS - fewest steps/best turnaround time for expat..

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Jack_be_nimble

I'm wondering, what would result in the fewest steps/best turnaround time for applying for SS.  I'm turning 62 in a few months.  I live on Negros island full time.

 

Of course, there's the SSA online method....but then, don't you have to wait for an SSA official here in the RP to contact you, verify that you are really you, mail supporting docs, wait some more, etc???

 

Or, just go to the embassy in Manila - hopefully, apply, and get it done in one day???   Are there long lines, long waits, etc?   Or the consulate in Cebu....but don't you have to wait longer.....unless they're having a scheduled 'outreach' day?

 

What have been your experiences?

Edited by Jack_be_nimble

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easy44

I did everything online.  I applied, it was approved and on the designated month my SS payment was deposited into my US bank account.  No need to meet or even talk on the phone to anyone.  My case was clear cut.  Nothing unusual and no discrepancies in my record.  I didn't try to use a Philippine bank because I could see no real advantage since I just use my ATM card to withdraw money.

 

Really, it couldn't have been easier.  Try to use a US bank account if possible to cut down on potential hassles.

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Jawny

I used the Cebu consulate during an outreach program. The paperwork part was easy and the staff helpful (just wait though). The application process just took a few minutes.

 

Now, the rest of the story.

 

The fellow who processed my application quit (resigned, fired?). I found this out after waiting a couple of months and calling a few times. Always told he was not in and the process takes a few weeks.

 

Finally, I was told he no longer worked there and they couldn't find my paperwork. The staff was very helpful and mailed documents to me to start over but after a few mailings back and forth, they found my original application.

 

My only point in telling this is knowing what I do now, I would have preferred an online method.

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Lee

I filed it online and you can do it up to 3 months in advance, so if you want it soon, do it soon. SOCIAL SECURITY 

 

 

 

Retirement or Spouse's

You can apply online for Retirement or spouse's benefits or continue an application you already started.

You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old and want your benefits to start no more than four months in the future.


but probably only if you have a US bank account.

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Headshot

The online SS website wouldn't let me set up an online account because I live in the Philippines (I still have no online access to my account). I just set up an appointment with SSA at the US Embassy in Manila. It took less than an hour to complete at the embassy. You can get started setting up an appointment through email...

 

[email protected]

 

If you have any children, remember to set that up as well. Here is the email I received from Ans Lee (the SSA rep at the US Embassy who handles new accounts) in reply to my original inquiry...

 

Thank you for your inquiry. We take Social Security benefit and Medicare applications by appointment. So that we can schedule an appointment for you and your daughter, please provide the following information:

  1. Your daughter’s full name and date of birth
  2. Your daughter’s Social Security Number
  3. Your wife’s full name and date of birth
  4. Your current address
  5. Your telephone or mobile phone number

We will send you another email to inform you about your interview appointment after we receive the requested information.

 

She will then get your information entered and call you on the phone number you provide to set up an appointment.

 

They do have SSA Outreach to the Consular Offices in Cebu City, but you have to be damn lucky to take advantage of them. They don't set the Outreach dates until a couple of weeks before the Outreach (so you can't plan in advance), and it has to be within 2 to 4 months before the date you want to start your benefits (unless you don't care when your benefits start). Since there are only two SSA Outreach dates per year, the odds are against you that you can take advantage of it for applying for benefits.

Edited by Headshot
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easy44

 

 

The online SS website wouldn't let me set up an account because I live in the Philippines (I still have no online access to my account).

 

Interesting.  I set up my account in 2010 and had no problem registering and applying for SS.  I did it from my computer in Cebu City.  Like I said, it was completely painless and did not involve a real person.  I know a couple of others who did the same thing.  Ask Gary Stokes next time you see him at one of the dinners.  He is the one who suggested it to me.

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Jawny

Interesting.  I set up my account in 2010 and had no problem registering and applying for SS.  I did it from my computer in Cebu City.  Like I said, it was completely painless and did not involve a real person.  I know a couple of others who did the same thing.  Ask Gary Stokes next time you see him at one of the dinners.  He is the one who suggested it to me.

I have not had any success getting online access to SSA. I attempted several times alway from Leyte. Not sure there is any benefit now, but would have been easier to apply online. It would nice to be able to change direct deposit online.

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Jack_be_nimble

Update; 

 

I did the online application.  I worked out fine, no hickups. I was able to put in a US based mailing address and a local physical address and international phone number - that had been one of my concerns before I tried it.  No problems.

 

Glad I went that route.  Many thanks to those who replied in this thread !!!

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Jawny

I was inspired by the success of members who obtained an online account while living in the Philippines. So, I tried again. Same result. I think I realize now the obivous reason why. The account requires a US mailing address which I do not have.

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easy44

I was inspired by the success of members who obtained an online account while living in the Philippines. So, I tried again. Same result. I think I realize now the obivous reason why. The account requires a US mailing address which I do not have.

Could very well be the reason.  I also have a US mailing address.

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Scottiev

Yep that is the reason.. its like the second thing on the required list to sign onto the site even. Must have a US mailing address

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Headshot

Yep that is the reason.. its like the second thing on the required list to sign onto the site even. Must have a US mailing address

 

And apparently an FPO address (even though it is a US mailing address) doesn't count.

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Headshot

Interesting.  I set up my account in 2010 and had no problem registering and applying for SS.  I did it from my computer in Cebu City.  Like I said, it was completely painless and did not involve a real person.  I know a couple of others who did the same thing.  Ask Gary Stokes next time you see him at one of the dinners.  He is the one who suggested it to me.

 

Well, it may have changed since 2010, but you can't set up an online account now. They couldn't even do it for me at the embassy (because of the address).

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Wonderer

I tried to set up an online account yesterday and I live in the US.    I called the help desk and was told that  they verify the address against your credit report to confirm your identity.  I have lived at my current address for one year and was not successful.  She said to leave off the phone numbers.

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tomaw

I did it online for my SS Benifits after going through a pile of BS regarding my Medicare benefits. The web site was quick and simple unlike dealing with live huemans on the phone and in person. Oddly enough I found it just as quick and easy dealing with the DMV web site when renewing my drivers license.

Edited by tomaw

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