Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to Social Security Frequently Asked Questions:

Please contact our office in Athens through the FBU Athens email form

Click on Contact Us to send an inquiry.

If you have questions about working outside the United States while you receive benefits, go to “Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States.” (PDF 1.48 MB)  If you are under your Full Retirement Age, you will not be eligible for benefits for every month you work more than 45 hours outside the United States in employment or self-employment (not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes).  It doesn’t matter how much you earned or how many hours you worked each day.  You will be considered to be working on any day you:

  • Work as an employee or self-employed person;
  • Have an agreement to work even if you do not actually work because of sickness, vacation, etc.; or
  • Are the owner or part owner of a trade or business even if you do not actually work in the trade or

business or receive any income from it.

Generally, if your benefits are withheld because of your work, we cannot pay benefits to anyone else receiving benefits on your record for that month.  However, the work of others receiving benefits on your record affects only their own benefits.  Under certain conditions, if your work is covered by U.S. Social Security, the work performed outside the U.S. by a U.S. citizen or resident is covered by the U.S. Social Security program.  If your work is covered by the U.S. Social Security, the same annual retirement test that applies to people in the U.S. applies to you.

The Treasury Department U.S. announced the mandatory direct deposit of pensions into bank accounts effective immediately

1.)     If you want to enroll in a US Dollar Account in a Greek bank, you must go to only one the following Bank Organizations:Piraeus BankAlpha Bank or National Bank of Greece, and sign Treasury Department Form SSA 1199. The Bank will provide and forward the form to the Federal Benefits Unit. You do not need to send us any information.  Due to specific regulations, you may not be able to use Dollar accounts opened in a Greek bank in the past on your own.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  You must mention at the financial institution that you want to apply for a US Dollar Account for US Retirement Benefits.

2.)     If you want to enroll in a Greek Bank Euro Account, then you must provide us with the SWIFT code for the bank branch and IBAN number obtained from the bank.  Send the information to the Federal Benefit Unit.  For fastest service, send this information on an inquiry using Contact Us.

3.)     If you have a bank in the U.S. already opened, you must provide the U.S. bank Routing Transit Number, your bank account number, and specify the type of the account (Checking or Savings).  For faster service, send this information on Contact Us.

You must wait until after the 25th of the month to report non-receipt of paper checks.  We cannot take action until this date.  If you have direct deposit of your payments, 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.  For faster service, send this information on Contact Us.

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.  In Greece, the questionnaire is usually sent every two years depending on the last 2 digits of your Social Security number.  The questionnaires are mailed out in the spring, and a follow-up mailing is sent in the fall.

For faster service, send this information on Contact Us.

You must provide your new address.  Also, tell us what your old address was.

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 Greece, you must complete and sign form SSA-21, which you can download at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-21.pdf (PDF 116 KB)

For faster service, send this information on Contact Us.

You must provide a Death Certificate (ΛΗΞΙΑΡΧΙΚΗ ΠΡΑΞΗ ΘΑΝΑΤΟΥ).

Report the death as soon as possible, there may be benefits due to survivors, and this will prevent possible overpayments which must be repaid.  Any payments sent the month after the beneficiaries 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.

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

For faster service, send this information on Contact Us.

The online request through My Social Security is not available for addresses outside the U.S.  You may use your Cost of Living letter sent in December of each year in most situations.

 

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 with requesting to terminate Medicare Part B, include your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, Sign, date the statement and mail to Federal Benefits Unit, American Embassy, Federal Benefits Unit, Vas. Sofias 91, 101 60 Athens, Greece.  Medicare Part B will be terminated effective with the month after the month we receive your signed statement.

If you previously terminated Medicare Part B and now wish to enroll, please visit www.medicare.gov for the enrollment months available to you. Generally you can enroll in Medicare Part B, from January to March of each year and Medicare Part B would begin July 1st of that year.  You can request a form HCFA-40B by sending a request on Contact Us.

If you have not applied for Social Security payments but want to apply for Medicare Only, we encourage you to send an email through the FBU Athens email form:

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 Greece 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: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html

The Totalization Agreement provides beneficiaries who have worked in both countries but do not have enough credits to receive a pension from either country to “add” the time required to fulfill this requirement.

For information on the Greece Totalization Agreement please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/greece.html

For information about other countries covered and their international programs  and the countries covered please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/index.html[PP-FA1]


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Complete for Form SSA-7050-F4 and mail 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.

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 Form SSA-7004 at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/SSA-7004.pdf. (PDF 67 KB) 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

Visit the following site: Estimate your future benefits (planning calculators)

Use http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator/

The online hours of operation are:

  • Monday to Saturday:  12 noon (5am EST)
  • Sunday:  3 PM (8am EST)

All applicants over the age of 12 must appear in person.  It is important you follow all instructions and complete all actions listed below before you request an in-person appointment by sending an inquiry on Contact Us.  We will send you an email with the date and time of the appointment.

You must bring original documents plus one photocopy of each document with you to your appointment.

It is very rare for a U.S. Citizen above the age of 12 not to have been assigned a Social Security Number. The most common reason for such an occurrence is a child born in the U.S. who moved abroad while very young.

1.)  You must submit original plus one photocopy of documents to prove the allegation of absence from the U.S. as the reason a Social Security Number was never assigned. The documentation must be comprehensive and date from the time the person departed the U.S. to the present to provide sufficient evidence.

The documentation can include:

school records such as report cards or a letter from the school confirming dates of attendance

travel documents such as current or canceled passports (U.S. or other)

employment records

medical records

proof of registration with a doctor or clinic
2.)  Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS  all questions must be answered and legible.  Please type or print the answers.

3.)  Also provide following original documents plus one photocopy of each document to prove age, citizenship, identity, and identity of parent signing the application if child under age 12.

Proof of Your Age (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate.  If you do not have the U.S. birth certificate, complete Form SSA- L706 (PDF 213KB).  It must be 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
  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Consular report of birth abroad (FS-240)

Proof of U.S. Citizenship (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Orignal US birth certificate, or US Passport (unexpired)
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate

Proof of identity (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Original foreign passport, unexpired and signed

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. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or Foreign Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Drivers License
  • Greek I.D. Card with a current photo

For more details visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ss5doc

II. How do I apply for a Social Security number for my child under age 12?

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

1.)  Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS  all questions must be answered and legible.  Please type or print the answers.

2.)  Provide the following original documents plus one copy of each document. The completed application and documents should be mailed to us.

Proof of Your Age (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate.  If you do not have the U.S. birth certificate, complete Form SSA- L706 (PDF 220KB).  It must be 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.
  • foreign birth certificate
  • consular report of birth abroad (FS-240)

Proof of U.S. Citizenship (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, or US Passport (unexpired)
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate

Proof of identity (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Original foreign passport, unexpired and signed

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.  (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or Foreign Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Drivers License
  • Greek I.D. Card with a current photo

3.)  Mail all the above original documents plus copies to FBU Athens at:

Federal Benefits Unit
American Embassy
Vas. Sofias Ave 91
10160 Athens

III. I have lost or misplaced my Social Security Card; do I need to replace the card?

A Social Security Card itself is not needed. Knowing your number is what is important. All employers, financial institutions, educational institutions, the Internal Revenue Service etc. always verify the Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration, regardless of whether or not a Social Security Card is presented. In part, the reason for this is the possibility of altered or fraudulent Social Security Cards being presented.

If you need the actual Social Security Card, to obtain a replacement card:

A. Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS  all questions must be answered and legible.  Please type or print the answers.

B. Provide the following original documents, plus one copy of the documents. The completed application and original plus copy of all documents to FBU Athens at:

Federal Benefits Unit
American Embassy
Vas. Sofias Ave 91
10160 Athens

Proof of identity  (provide ONE of the following original plus acopy)

  • Original U.S. Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Original foreign passport, unexpired and signed

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. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or Foreign Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Drivers License
  • Greek I.D. Card with a current photo

IV. I have a Social Security number, but do not remember the number. How can I find out my Social Security number?

You must apply for a replacement card following instructions in III. Above.

V. I have married or divorced and need to change my name on my Social Security records, how do I do that?

To change your name on your Social Security records the following steps are required:

1.)    Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS  all questions must be answered and legible.  Please type or print the answers.

2.)   Provide the following original documents, plus one copy of the documents. The completed application and original plus copy of all documents to FBU Athens at:

Federal Benefits Unit
American Embassy
Vas. Sofias Ave 91
10160 Athens

Proof of the name change (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

If the marriage, divorce certificate or legal name change document are less than 2 years old and contains biographical data such as date of birth or age of applicant, submit the original document.

If the marriage, divorce certificate, or legal name change document is over 2 years old or does not contain biographical data such as a date of birth or age, you must also submit proof of identity in your OLD name. If you have no identification in your old name, you must write a statement as to why you do not have such proof of identity and submit proof of identity in your NEW name.

Proof of identity in Old Name, as required (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original current or expired U.S. or Greek passport, must be signed
  • Original driving license
  • Original current or expired U.S. military identification
  • Proof of identity in New Name, as required
  • Original current U.S. or Greek passport, must be signed
  • Original driving license
  • Original current U.S. military identification

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. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or Foreign Passport, unexpired and signed
  • Drivers License
  • Greek I.D. Card with a current photo

Visit www.socialsecurity.gov

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, send an inquiry on Contact Us, select OTHER REASON, and ask your question in the REMARKS.

The Federal Benefits Unit handles Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) survivor claims, educational benefits, compensation and pension examinations, etc.

The Department of Veteran Affairs website offers the Federal Benefits Manual for Veterans and Dependents (2008), details of benefits available, and downloadable benefits forms.

Veterans Affairs Administration

1000 Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Fax: +1-412-395-6057
Contact Veterans Affairs

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, send an inquiry on Contact Us, select OTHER REASON, and ask your question in the REMARKS.

The Office of Personnel Management website offers information for federal employee benefits such as retirement programs, thrift plans, and health insurance.

OPM Mail Management Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045
Telephone: +1- 724-794-2005
Fax: +1-724-794-1112
Email: retire@opm.gov

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, send an inquiry on Contact Us, select OTHER REASON, and ask your question in the REMARKS.

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) administers comprehensive retirement-survivor and unemployment-sickness benefit programs for the nation’s railroad workers and their families. The RRB also administers certain Social Security benefit payments and railroad workers’ Medicare coverage.

RRB

844 N. Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611-2092
Telephone: +1-312-751-4500
Fax: +1-312-751-7136
Email: chicago@rrb.gov

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, send an inquiry on Contact Us, select OTHER REASON, and ask your question in the REMARKS.

The Department of Labor website offers information on benefits programs such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and workers’ compensation programs, (Black Lung, FECA, Longshore).