Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

TongueThaied

U.s. Social Security Survivor's Benefits

95 posts in this topic

Many of us expat Americans believe that when we die our Thai wives will be eligible for U.S. Social Security Survivor's Benefits the same as would an American wife. This is a mistaken belief.

Some American friends and I have argued over whether: (1) Being married has any impact upon the AMOUNT of monthly entitlement one can expect upon becoming eligible for U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefits; and (2) Whether my Thai wife will be eligible for a U.S. Social Security Benefit as would an American wife.

I thoroughly researched the question at U.S. Social Security online, reading all the fine print, notes and hyperlinks and found the answer to be "no" to both questions. As to the first question, being single, married or divorced has no impact upon the amount of a social security benefit. As to the second question, a non-citizen spouse, living abroad is entitled to a survivor's benefit only if the spouse lived continuously in the United States DURING the relationship creating the entitlement. So, if you and your wife lived in the States continuously for five years or more, she can get it. If not, no way Jose, you take it to the grave.

Some individuals refused to believe it and suspected my research was flawed.

Next, I went to U.S. Social Security online and submitted this electronic query:

Facts: I am 58 years old, married to a Thai citizen. We live in Thailand and intend to do so indefinitely. My Thai spouse has a U.S. tax number so that we can file taxes jointly, but she has never been to the United States and will probably never go to the United States. She has never paid into the Social Security system.

Question One: Does the fact of being single, married or divorced at the time of eligibility for U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefits have any impact on the amount of benefit for which I am eligible?

Question Two: If at the time of my death, I am receiving U.S. Social Security Retirement Benefits, will my spouse be entitled to Survivor's Benefits?

Last week, I received Social Security's response:

From: SSA.Comments@ssa.gov [mailto:SSA.Comments@ssa.gov]

Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 11:58 AM

To: johnnyr4@gmail.com

Subject: Robertson\Response\3742502\Belusko WBDOC 10083\

Thank you for contacting the Social Security Administration.

1) Your benefit amount is the same whether your are married, single or divorced.

2) Unless your spouse is a US citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) she is not entitled to survivor benefits.

There it is, right from the SSA horse's mouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for contacting the Social Security Administration.

1) Your benefit amount is the same whether your are married, single or divorced.

2) Unless your spouse is a US citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) she is not entitled to survivor benefits.

Which is one of the good reasons we stay in the US for awhile. :)

Of course the main one being work & we enjoy our place here. My wife also has a good job & is a permanent resident soon to be a US citizen & will enjoy dual citizenship which she looks forward too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your absolutely correct, although if you are a veteran, your wife would be eligible for VA survivors benefits of $660.00 a month. In Baht that comes to almost 22,000 Baht a month which would be enough for her to live on.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also got the same information. If your wife is or has not resided in USA for 5 years, forget it. She is likely not going to be happy hearing such news. Unfortunately, Thai women ASSUME a lot of things, when getting involved with a foreigner. Most of them have no awareness of all the various financial pitfalls involved and each country of origin (of the man) is different. The women generally have no concept of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since that is true, then anyone married to a Thai who has never lived in the U.S. and has no other pensions or estate had better do some financial planning. And those that do have other pensions, whether they are military, civilian, and/or U.S. government, had better make sure they have their spouses probably designated as beneficiaries.

I know of one case where a widow finally got survivor's pension 8 years after the death of the American husband but did not get anything in arrears. Because of his lack of foresight and planning, she lost 8 years of income.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in Thailand we have several VFW posts that assist when an American Veteran passes away. We have posts in Bangkok, Pattaya, Korat, Udon, and chiangmai. Widows of American veterans, and retired military are all eligible for benefits, even though they never resided in the United States, but are only eligible for Social Security benefits if they resided in the States for five years.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly no surprise to me as it plainly states that on the statement I get from SS every year.

TH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you think the american taxpayer should pay for someone who has never paid a cent into the system ??? Not with my tax dollars, you bought her now YOU pay for her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in Thailand we have several VFW posts that assist when an American Veteran passes away. We have posts in Bangkok, Pattaya, Korat, Udon, and chiangmai. Widows of American veterans, and retired military are all eligible for benefits, even though they never resided in the United States, but are only eligible for Social Security benefits if they resided in the States for five years.

Barry

Actually there are a few exception to the 5 year policy. One being that the survivor was married to a Veteran that was 100% disabled due to wounds and or illnesses sustained in a combat environment and that he was 100% disabled. The wife can also receive SS benefits without having been in the US if she cares for minor children born within the marriage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for contacting the Social Security Administration.

1) Your benefit amount is the same whether your are married, single or divorced.

2) Unless your spouse is a US citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) she is not entitled to survivor benefits.

Which is one of the good reasons we stay in the US for awhile. :)

Of course the main one being work & we enjoy our place here. My wife also has a good job & is a permanent resident soon to be a US citizen & will enjoy dual citizenship which she looks forward too.

I didn't think Thai's could have dual citizenship? I was under the impression they had to choose one or the other when they got to legal age as children of dual citizens and why should marriage change that?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I won't be expecting any handouts from SS, I'm not upset that my wife won't get any either. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting this

I have had several arguments with people who did not believe this.

I also never heard of a foreign born wife who never lived in the US getting benefits for taking care of a child. I know the child if US Citizen can get benefits,

LL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't think Thai's could have dual citizenship? I was under the impression they had to choose one or the other when they got to legal age as children of dual citizens and why should marriage change that?.

A Thai national who acquires another nationality through marriage retains her Thai nationality and can lose it only if she applies to the Ministry of Interior to renounce it and if the Minister approves her request.

Source: Nationality Act B.E. 2508, Section 13, as amended by Nationality Act No. 4 B.E. 2551

A man or woman of Thai nationality who marries an alien and may acquire the nationality of the spouse according to his nationality law shall, if he or she desires to renounce Thai nationality, make a declaration of his or her intention before an official according to the form and in the manner prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I won't be expecting any handouts from SS, I'm not upset that my wife won't get any either. ;)

If a person has been paying into a social security fund for 40 years every year from every paycheck, paying real cash into a fund for all of his life I would not consider it a hand out to get the money back. What planet do you come from?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

BANGKOK 25 July 2017 17:48
Sponsors