Social Security – Expat Infromation – Part 2 – Proof of Life Form 7162

Yesterday’s post was an overview of the regulations as they pertain to Expats living abroad. Today’s post is regarding the Form 7162 Proof of Life that is required to be completed by all recipients of Social Security benefits living outside of the US.

you can find the form on this web address:
For those living in Ecuador please complete the form and mail it directly to the US or you can mail the form along with a copy of your passport to the US Consulate in Quito.  They no longer accept scanned forms. This post was updated July 13, 2015. NL

By the way, if you are a permanent resident of Ecuador and using a relative or friends address in the US in this matter, you are not compliant.
The Social Security Administration will be sending out a letter requesting that a Proof of Life Form 7162 be completed according to the following schedule.

If your social security number ends in 00 through 49, your letter will be mailed out in May and June of even numbered years.

If your social security number ends in 50 through 99, your letter will be mailed out in May and June of odd numbered years.

The letters for 2013 will be mailed out between May and June (this month and next month). If you fall in the odd numbered years and have not received your letter by August, you should download a copy of the form and submit it..

The responses to those letters will need to be received by the SSA. If they are not received, the checks (or direct deposits) will be stopped! This usually catches the recipients by surprise and they wind up having to contact the Federal Benefits Unit in the US Embassy in Quito to get the check flow turned back on. This is not instantaneous and many living in Ecuador find themselves with financial problems. No money will be lost, but you may be without money until the problem is solved. It has happened to us, Joe’s direct deposits were stopped so be sure to complete the form in the correct year.

So what do you need to do?

1. The obvious answer is to have a mailing address in Ecuador. It can be general delivery or PO Box, but it must be in the country where you reside. Joe and I have not received any mail since moving to San Clemente. We have a PO Box in Bahia for over a year but this still does not assure you that you will receie a ltter. Update 7/13/2015 NL

As all of us that live here know, General Delivery and even PO Boxes do not insure that you will receive the letter in Ecuador. That is why you need to mark your calendar for August and if no letter has been received, then you need to contact the FBU in Quito or just complete the form and submit it.

2. If you have a noncompliant US mailing address, you can complete Form SSA-21. http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-21.pdf

Form SSA-21 is going to ask for a mailing address. Then you need to send it to the FBU in Quito and they will notify SSA of your new address and your payments will continue.

Because we do not receive regular mail here in Ecuador, Joe and I have decided to complete the Proof of Life Form 7162 annually, according to the schedule and you guessed it our social secuirty numbers are in different years, so as not to forget one year and get cut off. In the past we have sent this form with someone going back to the states to mail on our behalf. This form is not new and SS has always allowed you to have an address for correspondence purposes separate from your physical address. It just seems that they are slowly trying to get those who actually live outside the US to tell them.  There is another Federal Form the IRS requires called FBAR (more on this form in my next post). It is for reporting bank accounts outside the US. When the IRS determined there was widespread under-compliance, they announced an amnesty program to get folks to file.  Followed by an announcement of very stiff fines and penalties if you did not come forward voluntarily.  They now go direct to many foreign banks and ask them for a client list of Americans, threatening economic retaliation for not cooperating.

 

16 thoughts on “Social Security – Expat Infromation – Part 2 – Proof of Life Form 7162

  1. Thanks for Part 2 Nancy. This is so confusing for me because we still have a house and a mailing address in the states. According to one form, we would be considered U.S. residents because we are in the U.S at least 31 days out of a year. We travel back often to the states because of our elderly parents. Sigh! Why do they have to make these things so complicated? And I really wonder…why are they requesting all of this new information?

    • Hi Deb, we have been providing Social Security this information since we left the states back in 2006. It has always been a requirement and because we depend upon Joe’s Social Security we made sure we kept them informed. Our friend Don Ray Williams, Chiriquí Chatter, Panama just posted this information to his site this past week so I decided to repost what I had done last year with some updated info from his site. Don Ray is the Warden for his area in Panama. Our local Wardens should be keeping us informed but to tell you the truth I have no idea if we even have one for Manabí so last year in April I posted to let folks know about the requirements. Tomorrows post will be on the FBAR if you have a combined total of $10,000 in financial institutions outside of the US you are required to submit the FBAR form each year. Just more paperwork! Nancy

      • I know Don Ray. He inspired me to start a blog. Why don’t you become the US warden representative for your area? I am the warden representative for Ometepe Island. I’m basically a messenger and we started a Google group for all the expats on the island. It is great to be able to stay in touch with every expat on the island and we can communicate our wants and needs through the Google group. You’d be a wonderful warden.

        • Hey Deb, I also just love Don Ray, his blog puts mine to shame for sure. When we lived in Salinas I knew the Warden and she was great, kept us informed by email or phone call, a Google group sounds like a better idea because you get to say it once not 20 times. There may be a Warden here I just don’t know who it is…I know of other folks that would probably love to do the job, not sure I want to put more on my plate ja ja Nancy

  2. You should clarify :”By the way, if you are a permanent resident of Ecuador and using a relative or friends address in the US in this matter, you are not compliant.” as the form seems to allow for a US MAILING address on line 16…

    • Arthur,
      I posted the exact document yesterday, where it states that Joe and I living outside of the US for over three months must give our current RESIDENCE address, not my sister’s address in Atlanta or my brother’s address in Philadelphia or our home that we have in the US that we don’t live in…here’s the link https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202401080

      Don’t kill the messenger, I am only posting information that is available from Social Security but because we are out of the states and not getting mail regularly I attempt to show these guidelines to help folks understand some of the regulations set up by both the IRS and Social Security.
      I have copied the document below and in BOLD is the exact guideline I am speaking of.
      Social Security Online
      POMS Section: GN 02401.080

      http://www.socialsecurity.gov

      Search

      Previous | Next

      ——————————————————————————–

      Effective Dates: 04/20/2004 – Present

      TN 17 (04-04)

      GN 02401.080 Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad

      A. POLICY – WHEN PERMITTED

      A beneficiary abroad may use a U.S. mailing address when the beneficiary:

      Has an APO/FPO address;


      Has a representative payee in the U.S.; or


      Will be abroad for 3 months or less.

      The beneficiary must keep SSA advised of his residence address at all time for beneficiary contact and foreign enforcement purposes.
      B. POLICY – WHEN NOT PERMITTED

      A beneficiary abroad may not use a mailing address in the U.S. when the beneficiary is:

      In a barred country (RS 02650.001); or


      Abroad for more than 3 months.

      Checks for beneficiaries abroad more than 3 months may not be sent to a relative or friend in the U.S. except during interim periods while developing a proper mailing address.
      A beneficiary living outside the U.S. may have a foreign address and direct deposit to a U.S. financial institution (FI). See GN 02402.110. See also International Direct Deposit, GN 02402.201.

      See GN 02402.080 for the use of a Power of Attorney when International Direct Deposit is not available in the country of residence and the beneficiary wants checks mailed directly to an FI in the country of residence.

      ——————————————————————————–

      To Link to this section – Use this URL:
      http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202401080

      GN 02401.080 – Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad – 04/20/2004
      Batch run: 01/27/2009
      Rev:04/20/2004

      Hope this helps explain my last two posts.. Nancy

  3. Great info Nancy, thanks for the time and effort. John looked into being the warden here in Manabí before we moved. Takes lots of time and possibly costly since there are times you may have to go to Quito (according to info from a couple years ago). As far as I know now, there is no warden for Manabí.

    • Hey Mary, My friend Deb from Retire and Rewired suggested I become the Warden, what are you nutz…just more work and honestly I keep telling everyone I do not want a job…Nancy

  4. Nancy – I’m an Expat living in Santiago, Chile! I’m writing to ask for your help. A neighbor is the widow of a U.S. naval officer and she is a naturalized U.S. citizen. She is also Chilean born. She is receiving her pension from the navy with no problem. And, she is receiving her S.S. benefits with no problem. However, in late May she received form SSA 7162. Since returning to Chile she has renewed her Chilean citizenship. She is so worried due to the question about if there has been any change in her citizenship. Can she loss her SS benefits is she has renewed her Chilean citizenship? What do you recommend her to do? Thanks for any help that you can give her.

    • Hey Michael, I would suggest that she check with an attorney who handles US / Chilean issues…Or she could contact the US Consulate or Embassy in Santiago — http://chile.usembassy.gov/us_citizens_faq.html This website should have an email contact for someone at the consulate who should be able to answer her questions. I know nothing about citizenship issues…she needs to talk to someone…Don’t scare her but a German born person who lived and worked in the US for many years got his US citizenship prior to telling Germany of his reasons for doing it (he had SS benefits from the US and did not even think about telling Germany before he requested citizenship from the US) It made a difference to Germany and he lost his German citizenship..if he had notified them of his reasons for requesting dual citizenship I do not think there would have been a problem but because he did not discuss the issue with them beforehand he lost his German citizenship..It is a slippery slope with these countries…she needs to talk to someone and get some answers..I would hate for her to loose here SS benefits…Nancy

      • Thanks so much. She is making a trip to the U.S. the middle of July and I’m trying to convince her to get a private lawyer that specializes in S.S.A. matters.

        • Michael, That is a great idea…I hope all works out for her. Have a wonderful week you are a good friend to try to help her. Nancy

    • Hi Von, thanks so much for finding us. Are you one of Don Ray’s followers? I am sure he would love to know that you are now visiting a friends blog. Be well, Nancy

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