Federal Benefits – FAQs

To apply for a Social Security number for a child under age 12 the following steps are required.

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (click HERE to download a PDF of SS-5-FS – PDF, 56kb) – all questions must be answered and legible.

Provide the following original documents – photocopies are not acceptable. The completed application and documents should be mailed to us.

1.Proof of the child’s birth

  • Original U.S. birth certificate or Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Original French birth record
  • If the child was born in the U.S., Form SSA- L706 (click here to download SSA-L706)  should be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.

2. Proof of the child’s U.S. Citizenship

  • Original U.S. birth certificate,

OR

  • Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or U.S passport.

3. Proof of the child’s identity

  • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed
  • Original French Passport or French Identity card, must be current and signed
  • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice

4. .Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application

  • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed

OR

  • Original French Passport or French identity card, must be current and signed (NOT French carte de sejour)
  • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice

Anyone over the age of 12 filing for the first time must present themselves in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to arrange a visit to your local Embassy or Consulate please use these 3 links:

You must also complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (click here for form SS-5) – all questions must be answered and legible.

You must provide the following original documents – we do not accept photocopies.  It will expedite your visit to the Embassy if you bring in your original documents AND photocopies.   We will review and retain the photocopies, and return your original documents to you.

1.Proof of birth

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or Original birth certificate other than the documents mentioned above.
  • If you or the child was born in the U.S. you must submit documentary proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S.  The proof of foreign residency is needed to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past.  The proof should cover a significant portion of the entire period of time you or the child has been outside of the U.S.  (Click HERE to see list of documentation).
  • If you or the child was born in the U.S., Form SSA- L706 ( click HERE to download a PDF of Form SSA-L706 – PDF, 292kb ) must also be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.

2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship

  • Original U.S. birth certificate

OR

  • Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad

OR

  • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate

3. Proof of identity

  • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed

OR

  • Original French passport or French Identity card, must be current and signed
  • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice
  • Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12.
  • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed

OR

  • Original French passport or French identity card, must be current and signed (NOT French carte de sejour)
  • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice

 

 

If you receive paper checks, you must wait until after the 25th of the month to report non-receipt of your payment.  We cannot take action until this date.

If you have bank direct deposit, please contact the bank first.  Then, Contact us if the payment has not reached your bank account by the 10th of the month.  When reporting non-receipt, please tell us the date the check was supposed to be paid or deposited.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you did not receive a payment in the month of February of any year, your payments may have been suspended if we did not receive the Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire returned timely.  Checks are stopped in February of every year if we do not receive the questionnaire.  Depending on the country you reside, the Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire may be sent every year or every other year.  The questionnaires are mailed out in the spring, and a follow-up mailing is sent in the fall.

If you have not received the Questionnaire, please Contact us.

You should apply for a replacement card even if you cannot recall your Social Security Number.  Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (Click here (PDF-131KB) to download the form) – all questions must be answered and legible.

Provide an original identity document – a photocopy is not acceptable. The completed application and identity document should be mailed to our office.

Suitable proof of identity documents:

  • Original U.S Passport, must be current and signed;
  • Original Permanent Resident Alien card, must be current;
  • Original U.S. state driver’s license, must be current;
  • Original French Passport is acceptable, but must be accompanied by proof of U.S. citizenship such as a Naturalization certificate or U.S. birth certificate
  • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable if your U.S. citizenship is already properly established on your Social Security record. Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice.

If the replacement card is for a child, we need to see proof of identity for both the child and the parent who signs the form.

SSN needed for U.S. PASSPORT application:  If you cannot recall your (or your child’s) Social Security Number and need it for a U.S. Passport application you should apply for a replacement SSN card, per instructions above.  Please expect to wait at least one month for the replacement card application to be processed and the card mailed from the U.S.     Note:  this process cannot be expedited.

If the name on your identity document differs from the name on your last Social Security Number record, see below for instructions on how to change the name on your record.

For faster service, send this information using one of the methods described here.

You must provide your new and old address.

If you reside outside the U.S. for over 3 months, you must change your address to the foreign address.

If you are moving from the U.S. to an overseas location such as France, you must complete and sign form SSA-21.

To amend your Social Security record to your new name or maiden name:

Complete form:

Send it to us with the originals of your:

  • Valid Identity document (passport, French CNI, US driver’s license)
  • Proof of US Citizenship   (US passport /US birth record/Naturalization certificate/
    US Consular Report of Birth Abroad)
  • Proof of the name change  (Your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order showing both names)

All originals will be returned to you right away.  You may enclose a self-addressed envelope to expedite the return of the documents to you.

Please count a delay of 4 to 8 weeks before receiving your amended card.

There may be benefits due to survivors, and a prompt notification will prevent possible overpayments which must be repaid.

Any payments sent the month after the beneficiary dies must be returned to Social Security. If you do not have a death certificate yet, do not wait to report a death of a beneficiary receiving payments.

Contact Us immediately to report the death.

Information for representative payees and their obligations can be found at www.ssa.gov/payee.

For assistance, please Contact Us.

For yearly benefits statements, follow this link to request the Form SSA-1099/1042S. You will receive the form by mail at the address you have registered with the Social Security Administration.

For monthly benefits statements, please Contact Us by email and explain the reasons why you need such a statement.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This service is available during the following hours:

  • Weekdays           11:00 AM – 7:00 AM
  • Saturday              11:00 AM – 5:00 AM
  • Sunday                02:00 PM – 5:30 AM
  • Holidays               11:00 AM – 7:00 AM

For more information about Medicare visit the Website: www.medicare.gov or http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/medicare.htm or www.socialsecurity.gov.

To terminate Medicare Part B, please mail a signed statement requesting to terminate Medicare Part B.  Include your name, address, date of birth and Social Security Number.

Sign and date the statement and mail it to:

American Embassy

Federal Benefits Unit/OAS

The Windfall Elimination Provision is a Social Security law that applies to beneficiaries who are receiving full benefits from different pension agencies i.e. a pension from France and a pension from the Social Security Administration.  As a result, your Social Security Pension will be reduced by a certain percentage; depending on the amount of “years of substantial earnings”, you have contributed towards Social Security.

For more information concerning the Windfall Elimination Provisions please see:

The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply if:

  • Your foreign pension is based on totalization agreement with the U.S (in the case of French pension “retraite attribuée en application de la convention franco-américaine”.)
  • You are a federal worker first hired after December 31, 1983;
  • You were employed on December 31, 1983, by a nonprofit organization that did not withhold Social Security taxes from your pay at first, but then began withholding Social Security taxes from your pay;
  • Your only pension is based on US railroad employment;
  • The only work you did where you did not pay Social Security taxes was before 1957; or
  • You have 30 or more years of substantial earnings under Social Security. See chart on page 4 of the publication on subject http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html

The United States has bilateral Social Security agreements with 24 countries most commonly known as Totalization Agreements. The agreements improve benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the United States and another country. They also eliminate dual Social Security coverage and taxes for multinational companies and expatriate workers. See an overview of the agreement between USA and France.

You can obtain your Social Security Statement online at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ if you have a US, APO, DPO, or FPO address. The My Social Security system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for establishing an account. The system does not support foreign addresses.

If you are unable to establish an online account, you can receive the Social Security Statement by completing the Form SSA-7004.(PDF-666Kb).

The completed form must be mailed to:

Social Security Administration
Wilkes Barre Data Operations Center
P.O. Box 7004
Wilkes Barre, PA 18767-7004

Please allow up to four months to receive a response to the written request for a Social Security Statement.

You can also visit the French website http://www.cleiss.fr/docs/textes/ for information on how the agreement works in France.

For questions regarding French retirement, please contact your local French agency directly.

Complete for Form SSA-7050-F4 and mail it along with fees to Social Security.

The form, instructions and updated fees are located at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-7050.html.

The completed form must be mailed to:

Social Security Administration
Division of Earnings Record Operations
P.O. Box 33003
Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3003.

The Division of Earnings Record Operations is the only component that is authorized to complete this information. Allow up to four to six months to receive a response.

Visit the following sites:

The online hours of operation are:

  • Weekdays           11:00 AM – 7:00 AM
  • Saturday              11:00 AM – 5:00 AM
  • Sunday                02:00 PM – 5:30 AM
  • Holidays               11:00 AM – 7:00 AM
  • Please contact IRS or your French local tax office