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Social Security from US

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14 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

I just received a hard copy S.S. benefits estimate letter in Thailand. Second year in a row. I never asked for it. They just used my IRS filing address. I remember for many years they sent them and then they stopped. Well, they started again. 

Ha.  That's weird, especially since the push to go paperless, no checks mandatory direct deposit, etc.  Maybe overseas triggers something, or that "aliveness" check

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22 minutes ago, gk10002000 said:

Ha.  That's weird, especially since the push to go paperless, no checks mandatory direct deposit, etc.  Maybe overseas triggers something, or that "aliveness" check

I'm under claiming age. 

I recall reading in the news that they started mailing the paper advisories again as a general thing. 

I'd be surprised if it's only expats.

The aliveness check is more about people that are actively claiming. 

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29 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

Got it. I agree in general with the general idea in the link talking about " Critics note that many of the workers who will be most reliant on Social Security in retirement are least likely to have Internet access, including low-income and non-English speaking minorities. "  However, at the same time the agency ONLY does direct deposit and won't do checks so people are expected to have some online presence or internet access at some point.  Seems contradictory to keep mailing stuff.  I mean what good does the mail do if the person doesn't speak English?  Are they printing in multiple languages, or do they somehow guess or know someone isn't an english speaker? 

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A more current news article regarding mailing of annual statements is below.    The Reuters link in above posts is from 2014.   Also, the SSA link directly below sums it up in one paragraph




We currently mail Social Security Statements (Statements) to workers age 60 and over who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits and do not yet have a my Social Securityaccount. We mail the Statements three months prior to your birthday. We issue Statements by mail in English (or in Spanish if you live in Puerto Rico). If you receive your Statement in English and would like to receive it in Spanish, or vice versa, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or visit your local Social Security office.



New Article on Mailing of Social Security Statements





Social Security will cut paper statements — again

Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 | 1:11 PM ETCNBC.com

Say goodbye to receiving your Social Security statements in your mailbox — yet again.


The Social Security Administration announced in a blog post that it would send fewer statements in the mail in an attempt to cut down costs.


Only individuals who are 60 and over, who aren't receiving benefits and who don't have a My Social Security account online will get paper statements. These statements detail information on your earnings, your estimated benefits, and the contributions you've paid via payroll taxes.


This measure will reduce the cost of processing and mailing statements by $11.3 million in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the blog post.


"We know that our cutbacks will affect many of you, but we have no choice," wrote Doug Walker, deputy commissioner of communications at the Social Security Administration, in his blog post.


This latest move marks the second time Social Security has trimmed its mailing schedule for statements.


Back in 2011, the agency stopped mailing its annual paper statements to save on costs. The following year, Social Security launched a web-based version of the statements, which workers can view if they sign up for a My Social Security account.


After a wave of criticism and a push from Congress, in September 2014the agency resumed sending paper statements to workers who aren't receiving benefits and who haven't signed up for an online account.


Up until now, these individuals were getting their paper documents as they turned 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 and over.


Correction: The Social Security Administration's plan to send fewer statements in the mail will save $11.3 million in fiscal 2017. A previous version misstated the amount of savings.




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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, gk10002000 said:

I had tried for years to open an SSA account online, literally since they stopped sending out those benefit estimate letters.  Each time at the end it said could not be done, call an agent.  I finally got an agent and he seemed quite up to par.  He went through it and was surprised that he could not open the account.  He said he didn't know why but it looks like you have to go to an actual office and they will do it with you.  OK.  No rush.  I didn't need anything yet.  So as I worked around the country I located the nearest SSA office and made a mental note to drop in.  I never did.  I tried a few more times over the months to sign up online with no success.  Now I am in Melbourne Florida and right across the freaking street from where I work everyday is the Social Security office!  For kicks, I tried to open an online account and it worked!  Too funny.  I wonder if the website was a bit picky on where you were online from?  I am a Florida resident and just couldn't create an account while in another state, coincidentally or not.  I wonder if they were a bit confused with my Dad who passed in 2006 and has the same first and last name as mine. Anyway, I have the account and the wage information they have in there looks correct.  Their retirement benefits estimator doesn't quite handle the scenario I want to check, but it is close.  I sent in one question I had and got back a canned response quoting the stuff that is already online and was of no help in clarifying anything, so I wouldn't bother submitting anything that way. 


The wife and I both opened our Social Security Online Accounts while living in Thailand.   Opening my online account went easy enough although but it was picky about my address which is a military APO address here in Thailand...I'm a military retiree.  When opening the SS online account I had already been living in Thailand around 6 to 7 years, to includes filing my federal tax returns with this APO address.


One of the obstacles you must get through to open an online account is for the address you enter to match the current address the SSA or Experian has on file for you.  If you enter the wrong address after three tries it locks you out for 24 or 72 hours...I forget which one.  Now once that temporary locks goes away you can try again...can't get the address to match then it will probably permanently lock you out....you have to call the SSA to get it unlocked so you can try again. 


The SSA uses your current address as reported by the IRS from your federal tax return filing and/or Experian Credit Report Agency.   Expect your address is Experian is used if the IRS has no address info.   Also, I pretty sure you must have a "U.S. address" to open your account (military APO address is OK also), and not an international address.  Now once you get the account open and possibly change your address to an international address that is fine...your account stays open...the U.S. address thing is just to initially open/activate the account.


Now when we tried to open the wife's online account using our APO address it kept rejecting.  We have been married for decades and filing joint tax returns for decades so the address in the IRS database for her should be the same as mine.   After trying several times over about a week and getting permanently locked out,her and I called the SSA to work the issue.  


The first rep we got was just an A-hole...really couldn't help.  A few months later we called back and got a "great" rep.  The rep unlocked the block and the wife tried again with the rep still online...once again, entering the APO address would result in a lock out.  The rep said that's strange since they first use IRS address info for the individual and since we file a joint return the APO address should be reflected for her although the rep can not see what address is reflected.  She said try an address you lived at before using the APO address.  So we tried our living address before moving to Thailand and it worked....got her account activated.


Later we got an credit reports from Experian for both the wife and I.  For me it showed our APO address and my most recent address.  But for the wife it did not show the APO address as the most recent but instead our address before moving to Thailand which was around a half dozen years earlier.   Just outdated address info in her Experian credit report.


Edited by Pib
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BANGKOK 19 October 2017 16:00