UNCLASSIFIED (U)

7 FAM 530 

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

(CT:CON-890;   12-18-2019)
(Office of Origin:  CA/OCS)

7 FAM 531  INTRODUCTION

(CT:CON-890;   12-18-2019)

a. More than 745,000 beneficiaries abroad receive 4.7 billion dollars in Social Security benefits each year.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for the issuance of Social Security Number (SSN) Cards and the administration of the Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) program, the Special Veterans Benefits (SVB) program, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program as authorized by the Social Security Act, as amended.

b. Overseas Federal Benefits Operations:

(1)  Regional Federal Benefits Officers (RFBO):  As Department of State (DoS) limited non-career specialist appointees, RFBOs recommended by SSA and hired by DoS are subject to all applicable DoS pre-employment clearances and appointment processes.  As the primary manager of Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) staff at his/her residing post the RFBO is responsible for evaluating FBU staff according to DoS standard Locally Employed (LE) Staff rating practices.  RFBOs are under Chief of Mission authority (see 1 FAM 013.2 Responsibility of Chiefs of U.S. Missions and 2 FAM 131b.)

(2)  Federal Benefits Units (FBUs), also known as claims taking posts, serve as part of the Consular Section, American Citizens Services units within U.S. Embassies and Consulate Generals (posts) in countries where the SSA beneficiary population is concentrated. 

(a)  FBUs are staffed by LE Staff.  LE Staff are DoS employees, recruited and hired in conformance with the U.S. Mission’s hiring procedures for DoS LE Staff and in consultation with SSA and RFBOs. 

(b)  SSA fully trains FBU staff in SSA policies and procedures, and FBUs connect directly to SSA’s computer systems. 

(c)  FBUs provide a broad range of services including advising applicants about benefits; providing necessary forms; assisting applicants in completing forms; arranging medical appointments; developing claims (but not adjudicating them); following up with SSA when necessary; and processing applications for Social Security Numbers (SSNs).  FBUs also provide federal benefits services on behalf of other federal benefits agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), Office of Personal Management (OPM), and Department of Labor (DOL).  RFBOs oversee all FBUs across six regions worldwide. The following is the list of the 21 FBUs in 17 countries.

Frankfurt region

Rome region

London region

Frankfurt, Germany

Rome, Italy

London, United Kingdom

Paris, France

Naples, Italy

Dublin, Ireland

Warsaw, Poland

Athens, Greece

Oslo, Norway

Krakow, Poland

Jerusalem, Israel

Lisbon, Portugal

 

 

Madrid, Spain

 

 

 

Manila region

San Jose region

Mexico region

Manila, Philippines

San Jose, Costa Rica

Mexico City, Mexico

Tokyo, Japan

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

 

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Guadalajara, Mexico

(3)  Non-Claims Taking Posts (NCTPs): 

(a)  All U.S. embassies, consulate generals, consulates, and consular agencies outside the designated FBU posts are considered non-claims taking posts (NCTPs).  The ACS units of these consular sections are without staff fully trained in SSA policies and procedures and are serviced by an assigned FBU. 

(b)  NCTPs in Canada are serviced by SSA domestic border field offices and by SSA’s Division of International Operations.

c.  The Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services works with two SSA Offices with distinct missions:

(1)  The SSA Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) is responsible for administering the Social Security program outside the United States and for the implementation of the benefit provisions of international agreements. 

(a)  CA’s Overseas Citizens Services, Management Support Unit (CA/OCS/MSU) serves as the primary liaison between consular sections and federal benefits agencies. 

(b)  SSA communicates directly with FBUs regarding individual cases, SSA policy, SSA systems, administration, and other related issues.  To ensure coordination and consistency in applicable guidance to NCTPs, SSA shares with CA/OCS/MSU any instruction or policy related to services performed at NCTPs. 

(c)  Any communications related to foreign policy issues, including post closures or evacuations, must proceed through CA/OCS/MSU.  In addition, SSA shares with CA in advance any SSA instruction that may affect NCTP consular workload and resources for concurrence from CA to ensure proper resource coordination and availability. 

(d)  Posts may consult CA/OCS/MSU (FedBen@state.gov) for further program management information or guidance.

(2)  The SSA Office of International Programs (OIP) is responsible for negotiation of international Social Security Agreements, known as totalization agreements.  CA/OCS's Office of Legal Affairs (CA/OCS/L) (ASK-OCS-L@state.gov) works with SSA OIP, L/CA, and L/T on totalization agreements.

d. Social Security laws and regulations are complex.  7 FAM provides guidance on consular matters and does not address SSA laws and procedures in detail.  Consular officers are encouraged to consult with their RFBO for guidance about situations not addressed in this 7 FAM section.

e. In order to ensure uniformity on federal benefits processes across FBUs and    NCTPs, SSA coordinates FBU training as the service provider and notifies CA/OCS/MSU prior to training.  RFBOs coordinate with CA/OCS/MSU to provide guidance to NCTPs as needed to promote consistency of federal benefit processes throughout an SSA region.  Development and provision of all training and related resources for the execution of federal benefits work is performed and paid for by SSA. 

f.  To develop a closer working relationship between SSA and the Department of State, both parties meet to discuss the effectiveness of the programs abroad, staffing, implication of any legislative changes, and any other matter that affect the operations of the programs abroad.

g. SSA funds the administration of federal benefits programs abroad and reimburses DoS for services performed in connection with the administration of SSA’s programs overseas.  SSA reimburses DoS for direct program support, including the salaries and related costs for RFBOs and LE Staff at FBUs, for services performed on its behalf at NCTPs, and for indirect administrative costs at FBUs, which are paid through the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) system.

7 FAM 532  authoRITIES AND DEFINITIONS

(CT:CON-754;   11-29-2017)

a. Consular authority regarding Social Security matters abroad is derived from:

(1)  22 U.S.C. 3904 Functions of Service (Subparagraph 3) which states

"Members of the Service shall, under the direction of the Secretary:(3) Perform functions on behalf of any agency or other government establishment (including any establishment in the legislative or judicial branch) requiring their services.”

(2)  Interagency Agreement (IAA) between the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Social Security Administration entered into pursuant to the Economy Act, 31 U.S.C. 1535.  SSA is responsible for the issuance of Social Security Number (SSN) cards and the administration of the Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) program, the Special Veterans Benefits (SVB) program, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program as authorized by the Social Security Act, as amended.

(3)  42 U.S.C. Chapter 7 (Social Security) sets forth legal authority for SSA programs, but does not give DoS any particular authority.

b. Definitions

Beneficiary:  A person who is entitled to Social Security benefits.

Claimant:  A person who is applying for Social Security benefits, whether on his/her own Social Security record or on the record of a worker upon whom the applicant is or was dependent.

Claim number:  Social Security Number (SSN) of the worker, living or deceased, on whose record the benefits are claimed and an alphabetical suffix assigned by SSA identifying the type of benefit involved.  (For example:  000-00-000A.)

Covered employment or self-employment:  Employment or self-employment that is subject to the payment of U.S. Social Security taxes.  (Voluntary contributions cannot be made to the U.S. Social Security program.)

Disability:  For claims filed on or after July 1965, disability means the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.  For widows and widowers, the disability must begin within a certain prescribed period.

Post:  U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Representative payee:  A person, agency, organization, or institution who receives and manages benefits on behalf of a child or an incapable adult beneficiary.

Worker:  The holder of a Social Security number, male or female, living or deceased, who engaged in employment or self-employment covered under the Social Security Act and acquired coverage credits toward Social Security benefits for self and dependents.

7 FAM 533  Guidance to posts

7 FAM 533.1  SSA-related inquiries and outreach

(CT:CON-890;   12-18-2019)

a. NCTPs should direct all SSA-related inquiries to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) that services the country where the NCTP is located.  NCTPs should already be familiar with the FBU that handles SSA claims in their country; see SSA FBU list.  In Canada, individuals with SSA-related inquiries should be referred to the appropriate SSA field office in the United States.  See a complete list of the SSA field offices.

b. Post Outreach:  OCS/MSU is offering a SSA Training Toolkit that will provide NCTPs with guidance, tools, and resources for using the SSA Service Tracker.  This basic kit of information will be updated based on the feedback that OCS/MSU receives from NCTPs.  If you have questions please reach out to the OCS/MSU Federal Benefits Team at FedBen@state.gov. 

7 FAM 533.2  Managing Federal Benefits Units (FBU)

(CT:CON-754;   11-29-2017)

a. RFBOs have direct supervisory responsibility over the FBUs assigned to their region. RFBOs provide technical advice, guidance and training to the FBUs and the NCTPs within their geographic region. As part of these regional responsibilities, RFBOs work closely with the senior consular officers. The respective American Citizens Services (ACS) Chiefs evaluate RFBOs annually following the same standards as any other Foreign Service Officer. The six RFBOs are located in: Frankfurt, San Jose, London, Manila, Mexico City, and Rome.

b. FBU LE Staff are DOS employees, recruited and hired in conformance with U.S. Mission's hiring procedures for DOS LE Staff and in consultation with SSA and the RFBOs.

c.  LE Staff located in the six FBUs (mentioned above) will be evaluated by the respective RFBO. LE Staff located in other FBUs will be evaluated by the RFBO or FBU supervisor. ACS Chiefs in those FBUs should communicate with the RFBO and FBU supervisors regarding the management of the FBU.

7 FAM 534  LIST OF SERVICES PROVIDED AND VOLUME METHODOLOGY FOR INVOICING

(CT:CON-754;   11-29-2017)

a. The following are the six services requested by SSA to be performed at the NCTPs. The services will be performed after the post has received the request/approval from the RFBO or FBU designee. The only service that does not require prior approval is the mandatory in-person interview for U.S. citizen SSN applicants age 12 or older.

b. Please note that NCTPs in a country that has an FBU and NCTPs in Canada must have an approval to perform any of these services, including the in-person interviews.

Form Type/

Service Description

FY 2018 Service Provided and

Volume Methodology for Invoicing

Interviews  for Social Security Number (SSN) applicants age 12 or older.

Service Provided:

 

DoS will conduct mandatory interviews for U.S. citizens age 12 or older applying for a SSN for the first time.  DoS has been authorized by SSA to provide this service without individual written request of the RFBO unless located in Canada or in a country that has a FBU.  NCTPs that are located in Canada or in a country that has a FBU need RFBO approval to provide this service.  

 

For any U.S. citizen under the age of 12, RFBO approval is needed.  Please inform CRBA applicants (if the child is under 12) that they must apply for a Social Security number for the child through the appropriate FBU.

 

For all replacement cards, RFBO approval is needed as these applications do not require face-to-face interviews and typically do not require passports.

For non-U.S. citizens, RFBO approval is needed in all cases.

 

DoS will conduct mandatory interviews for foreign citizens age 12 or older applying for a SSN for the first time only at the written request of the RFBO.

 

This service may include, but is not limited to, the following steps:

 

·         Receive approved request from the RFBO.

·         Examine application for completeness.

·         Accept original evidence—proof of age, citizenship, and identity—and review for authenticity.

·         Copy and certify proof of age, citizenship, and identity.

·         Complete the In-person Interview Report with the applicant.

·         Copy evidence submitted to prove non-U.S. presence.

·         Scan and forward via PDF all documents and application to FBU.

 

Volume Methodology:   Volumes will be based totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DOS.

 

Validation Methodology: RFBOs will validate the number of requests sent by the RFBOs and their designees.

Consultative Exams (CEs) and Medical Appointments.

Service Provided:

 

DoS will work with local physicians to schedule CEs and other medical appointments for disability beneficiaries in connection with SSA eligibility determinations only at the written request of the RFBO.

 

This service may include, but is not limited to, the following steps:

·         Receive approved request from the RFBO.

·         Forward the request to the identified medical provider. 

·         Forward the projected costs for the medical examination to the RFBO. 

·         Schedule the medical examination, if not scheduled by medical provider, with RFBO authorization.

·         Forward the completed medical review to the RFBO.  

·         Arrange the payment of the medical provider with RFBO authorization.

 

Volume Methodology:  Volumes will be based on totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DoS.

Validation Methodology:  RFBOs will validate the number of requests sent by the RFBOs and their designees. SSA will use RFBOs' numbers to validate the quarterly reports."  This is true for all the following services.

 

Field  Investigations Travel

Service Provided: 

 

DoS will conduct document or information verification investigations (life study, fraud investigations), to the extent possible, and report the results back to SSA only at the written request of the RFBO.

 

This service may include, but is not limited to, the following steps:

 

·         Receive approved request from the RFBO.

·         Schedule in-person visit.

·         If travel is required, identify the cost of travel and provide to the FBU for approval.

·         Review evidence of identity from individual.

·         Obtain additional information from the beneficiary that was identified in the FBU request.

·         Forward results to the FBU for determination.

 

Volume Methodology:  Volumes will be based on totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DOS.

Validation Methodology: RFBOs will validate the number of requests sent by the RFBOs and their designees.

 

Investigations In Office

Service Provided:  DoS will conduct document or information verification investigations (life study, fraud investigations), to the extent possible, and report the results back to SSA only at the written request of the RFBO.

This service may include, but is not limited to, the following steps:

 

·         Receive approved request from the RFBO.

·         Schedule in-person visit.

·         Review evidence of identity from individual.

·         Obtain additional information from the beneficiary that was identified in the RFBO request.

·         Forward results to the RFBO for determination.

 

Volume Methodology:  Volumes will be based on totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DOS.

 

Validation Methodology: RFBOs will validate the number of requests sent by by the RFBOs and their designees.

Representative Payee Verification

Service Provided: 

 

DoS will conduct mandatory face-to-face interview to determine a representative payee’s authenticity as a representative for the beneficiary only at the written request of the RFBO.

This service may include, but is not limited to, the following steps:

·         Receive approved request from the RFBO.

·         Verify identity of representative payee applicant.

·         Obtain evidence of identity from individual (Form SSA-11-BK Representative Payee Application

·         Forward results of interview to the RFBO.

·         Provide names of potential representative payee applicants as appropriate.

Volume Methodology: 

 

Volumes will be based on totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DOS.

Volume Validation:

 

RFBOs will validate the number of requests sent by the RFBOs and their designees.

Services Related to Restricted Countries

Service Provided: Services related to restricted countries at the written request of the RFBO..

These services may include, but are not limited to, the following steps:

·         Communicate with foreign government as appropriate and as requested by SSA.

·         Conduct visit with individual.  Visits occur evey 6 months.

·         Review evidence of identity from individual.

·         Forward the visit information to the RFBO via e-mail.

·         Issue paper check to individual if beneficiary has not established direct deposit.

·         Provide the annual FEQ mailing to the beneficiaries.

 

Volume Methodology:  Volumes will be based on totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DOS.

Validation Methodology:  RFBOs will validate the number of requests sent by by the RFBOs and their designees.

Authentication Certification of Documents and Intake of Initial Claims.

 

Service Provided:

 

DoS will copy and certify authenticity of document(s) and transmit customer submissions that are SSN related and initial claims applications at the written request of the RFBO.

 

DOS copying, certifying, and/or transmitting of all other documentation must be specifically approved or requested by the RFBO in writing in advance on a case-by-case basis, unless performed as part of another RFBO-authorized service.

 

This service includes the following steps:

SSN Related

·         Accept original evidence—proof of age, citizenship, and identity—and review for authenticity.

·         Copy and certify proof of age, citizenship and identity.

·         Scan and forward via PDF all documents and application to FBU.

 

Initial Claims Related

·         Accept original evidence—proof of age, citizenship, and identity—and review for authenticity.

·         Copy and certify proof of age, citizenship and identity.

·         Scan and forward via PDF all documents and application to FBU.

 

Volume Methodology:  Volume will be based on totals generated by the performance accounting tool maintained by DoS.

Validation Methodology:  RFBOs will confirm the number of requests sent by the RFBOs and their designees.  SSA will use RFBOs' numbers to validate the quarterly reports.

b. For all replacement Social Security cards, RFBO approval is needed as these applications do not require face-to-face interviews and typically do not require passports.

7 FAM 535  PERFORMANCE ACCOUNTING TOOL

(CT:CON-890;   12-18-2019)

a. Under the new Interagency Agreement (IAA) between SSA and the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA), posts will need to track the services performed on behalf of SSA using a new SharePoint-based data gathering tool, effective October 1, 2017.  CA has a SSA Training Toolkit that explains in detail how to use this tool. 

b. RFBOs may authorize these specific services in one of two ways.  First, the RFBO may contact the NCTP directly by email, specifically identifying the service and the applicant. Second, the RFBO may send an authorization letter directly to the applicant and instruct that applicant to make an appointment with the nearest NCTP and present the letter during the appointment. In either case, the NCTP must preserve the authorization document (either by attaching the email authorization or by scanning and attaching the authorization letter presented by the applicant) in the data-gathering tool that will record the NCTP’s services.

c.  Under the IAA, ACS sections at posts that do not have a Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or a resident Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) (also known as “Non-Claims Taking Posts”, or NCTPs) may only perform services on behalf of SSA if they have received prior authorization from the RFBO.  Furthermore, NCTPs must track the SSA-related services that they perform in the SSA Service Tracker, a SharePoint-based data gathering tool.  Staff at NCTPs must use the Service Tracker to record the amount of time they spend on each SSA-related service and to upload the authorization for that service from the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) or RFBO designee.  The data gathered using this tool will be used to invoice SSA for this work under the IAA. 

d. The SSA Service Tracker tool is located on the Overseas Citizens Services, Management Support Unit (MSU) SharePoint landing page.  A complete user guide to the Tracker is available on the Tracker homepage.

e. Upon completion of a SSA service at a NCTP, the NCTP staff member should perform the following steps to enter service data for tracking:

(1)  Access the SSA Service Tracker via OpenNet.

(2)  Click the Enter New Service Icon.

(3)  Upload the RFBO authorization documentation (either the email from the RFBO or the RFBO authorization document presented by the applicant or beneficiary) by selecting Attach File in the upper left corner of the webpage. 

(4)  Enter in required responses for the Service Completion Date, Post, Requesting RFBO, Service Type, Client First Name, Client Last Name, Direct Time Spent on Service by staff type, RFBO Approval, Copy of Additional Communication or Reference (if applicable) and RFBO Approval Name or Number.

(5)  Click the Save button.

(6)  NCTP staff should create only one entry per SSA service, regardless of the number of staff members who worked on the case or how much time was spent on it. NCTP staff will not be able to edit or delete entries in the Service Tracker once they are made; therefore, all data must be entered only once when the service is completed, and the data must be entered accurately.  The cumulative total number of minutes worked on the single case will be entered for each staff type who worked the case.  For example, if both a Consular Officer and LE Staff member jointly performed an SSA-related field investigation authorized by the RFBO, both times would be entered together in a single entry into the Tracker (e.g. Direct Time Spent on Service by LE Staff: 53 minutes and Direct Time Spent on Service by Consular Officer: 42 minutes).  Time should not be rounded up; exact time is required (e.g. 17 minutes).

(7)  For management controls purposes, only OCS/MSU staff members will be able to edit the Tracker data.  All Tracker data changes should be reported to the OCS/MSU Federal Benefits Team at FedBen@state.gov. 

(8)  All questions or concerns about the SSA Service Tracker, its permission settings, or related SSA service data, including any data entry errors, should be directed to the OCS/MSU Federal Benefits Team at FedBen@state.gov.

7 FAM 536  Frequently Asked Questions

 (CT:CON-754;   11-29-2017)

a. Certified True Copies:

(1)  Q:   Should NCTPs continue to make certified copies of documents that will be used in connection with an application for Social Security benefits?  If so, should NCTPs forward the certified copies directly to the applicable Federal Benefits Unit?

(2)  Answer (A)  Under the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, consular sections should not charge any fee for notarial, authentication, or certification services when the service is being performed “with respect to documents to be presented by claimants, beneficiaries, or their witnesses in connection with obtaining Federal, state, or municipal benefits.”  This provision is not affected by the IAA.  Thus, NCTPs should continue to make certified copies of documents, without charge, if those documents are going be used as part of an application for federal, state, or municipal benefits – including Social Security benefits.  Such services should not be recorded in the SSA Service Tracker; instead, NCTPs should issue a no-fee notarial receipt, using ACRS code 45.  NCTPs should not forward these certified copies of documents to SSA or the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU).  Instead, they should be given back to the applicant.

(3)  Question (Q):    When making certified copies of documents in connection with applications for federal, state, or local benefits, should posts just use the “original seen and returned” stamp, or the consular seal (either wet or raised) used for full-fledged notarials?  And must an officer certify the copy?

(4)  A:   SSA has informed us that, if the documents come from the applicant, they can only accept fully notarized documents that contain a wet or raised notarial seal.  Thus, when an applicant requests certified copies of a document in connection with the application for a Social Security benefit, posts should fully notarize the certified copy using Form DS-1985, Certification of true Copy.  This action may only be taken by an officer authorized to provide notarial services.

b. Form SS-5       Application for Social Security Card

(1)  Q:   May NCTPs continue to accept Form SS-5       applications for a Social Security card as part of a combined application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad(CRBA) and a passport?

(2)  A:   No, if the child is under the age of 12. (Unless you received prior authorization from the RFBO).  NCTP staff should inform the parents of the child that they must apply directly with the applicable FBU for a Social Security card for their child.  Yes, if the U.S. citizen child is 12 years or older (posts would also perform the required interview), unless the NCTP is located in a country that contains an FBU, or is located in Canada.  Note that all first-time applicants who are not U.S. citizens must apply directly with the FBU, even if they are 12 years or older.

c.  Passport, Consular Report of Birth Applications and Social Security Cards

(1)  Q:   If the parents are applying for a CRBA and passport for their child, and can’t submit an application for a Social Security card to the NCTP at the same time, must the parents or legal guardians of the child submit a declaration under perjury that the child has never been issued a Social Security number?

(2)  A:   Yes.  Because parents in this situation are not applying for a Social Security card along with the CRBA and passport, they must submit the declaration. 

d. Pipeline Appointments

(1)  Q:   If a NCTP has scheduled appointments for Social Security applicants after October 1, 2017, must it cancel those appointments?

(2)  A:   Yes, if the appointment is for the commencement of a Social Security service (i.e. post has not worked on the case yet), except in urgent humanitarian cases (e.g. an applicant has already purchased non-refundable plane tickets to travel to the NCTPs); however, any Social Security-related services that commenced before October 1, 2017, should be processed to conclusion.  NCTPs should not record such services in the SSA Service tracker.

e. Death Notification to SSA

(1)  Q:   Should NCTPs continue to forward Consular Reports of Death Abroad (CRODA) to the SSA pursuant to 7 FAM 276.1?

(2)  A:   Yes.  Since this is not a service directly performed on behalf of the SSA, NCTPs should continue to comply with 7 FAM 276.1.  Consular officers are required by regulation at 22 CFR 72.5(b)(1) to provide a copy of the CRODA to SSA if the decedent was a Social Security beneficiary.  Additional questions on this topic may be addressed to CA/OCS/L at Ask-OCS-L@state.gov.

(3)  Q.  Should posts NCTPs notify FBUs or RFBOs of deaths of non U.S. citizens?

(4)  A.   Regarding reporting the death of a non-U.S. citizen, NCTPs should refer the relatives to the appropriate FBU or to the SSA website.

f.  FBU Authorization for Services

(1)  Q:   Should NCTPs contact a FBU to obtain authorization to perform a service on behalf of an applicant?

(2)  A:   No.  NCTPs should not proactively seek authorization to perform SSA-related services on behalf of an applicant. Instead, NCTPs should counsel the applicant to contact the FBU directly.  The FBU will then determine if the provision of services by the NCTP is necessary in that case.

g. Distribution of Social Security Cards

(1)  Q:   Can NCTPs continue to receive Social Security cards for applicants?

(2)  No.  NCTPs should not permit Social Security beneficiaries to use the NCTP’s address (either physical or pouch) to receive Social Security cards.  The beneficiary should use his or her own address.

Please note that an updated FAQ document can be found on the Service tracker webpage.

7 FAM 537  LIST OF COUNTRIES WITH ASSOCIATED SERVICING REGION AND FBU

(CT:CON-868;   02-19-2019)

The list of countries below identifies each country’s servicing SSA region and servicing FBU.  A NCTP that is located in the same country as a FBU may not carry out any services without the authorization of the appropriate RFBO, even if that NCTP could otherwise do so.

Country or Other Area

NCTP  Located Outside of FBU Country

Servicing Region

Servicing FBU

Afghanistan

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Albania

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Algeria

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Andorra

N (Madrid FBU)

London

Madrid FBU

Angola

Y

London

Lisbon FBU

Antigua and Barbuda

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Argentina

N (Buenos Aires FBU)

San Jose

Buenos Aires FBU

Armenia

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Aruba

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Australia

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Austria

Y

Frankfurt

Frankfurt FBU

Azerbaijan

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Bahamas, The

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Bahrain

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Bangladesh

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Barbados

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Belarus

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Belgium

Y

London

Dublin FBU

Belize

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Benin

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Bhutan

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Bolivia

Y

San Jose

Buenos Aires FBU

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Botswana

Y

London

London FBU

Brazil

Y

San Jose

Buenos Aires FBU

Brunei

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Bulgaria

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Burkina Faso

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Burma

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Burundi

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Cambodia

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Cameroon

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Canada

N (SSA Border Offices)

SSA Domestic

Varies

Cabo Verde

Y

London

Lisbon FBU

Central African Republic

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Chad

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Chile

Y

San Jose

Buenos Aires FBU

China

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Colombia

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Comoros

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Congo, Republic of the

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Costa Rica

N (San Jose FBU)

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Cote d'Ivoire

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Croatia

Y

Rome

Naples FBU

Cuba

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Curacao

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Cyprus

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Czech Republic

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Denmark

Y

London

Oslo FBU

Djibouti

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Dominica

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Dominican Republic

N (Santo Domingo FBU)

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Ecuador

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Egypt

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

El Salvador

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Equatorial Guinea

Y

London

Madrid FBU

Eritrea

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Estonia

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Ethiopia

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Eswatini

Y

London

London FBU

Fiji

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Finland

Y

London

Oslo FBU

France

N (Paris FBU)

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Gabon

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Gambia, The

Y

London

London FBU

Georgia

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Germany

N (Frankfurt FBU)

Frankfurt

Frankfurt FBU

Ghana

Y

London

London FBU

Greece

N (Athens FBU)

Rome

Athens FBU

Grenada

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Guatemala

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Guinea

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Guinea-Bissau

Y

London

Lisbon FBU

Guyana

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Haiti

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Holy See

N (Rome FBU)

Rome

Rome FBU

Honduras

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Hong Kong

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Hungary

Y

Frankfurt

Krakow FBU

Iceland

Y

London

Oslo FBU

India

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Indonesia

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Iran*

N (Frankfurt FBU)

Frankfurt

Frankfurt FBU

Iraq

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Ireland

N (Dublin FBU)

London

Dublin FBU

Israel

N (Jerusalem FBU)

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Italy

N (Rome/Naples FBU)

Rome

Rome/Naples FBU

Jamaica

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Japan

N (Tokyo FBU)

Manila

Tokyo FBU

Jordan

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Kazakhstan

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Kenya

Y

London

London FBU

Kiribati

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Korea, North

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Korea, South

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Kosovo

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Kuwait

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Kyrgyzstan

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Laos

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Latvia

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Lebanon

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Lesotho

Y

London

London FBU

Liberia

Y

London

London FBU

Libya

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Liechtenstein

Y

Frankfurt

Frankfurt FBU

Lithuania

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Luxembourg

Y

London

Dublin FBU

Macau

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Macedonia

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Madagascar

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Malawi

Y

London

London FBU

Malaysia

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Maldives

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Mali

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Malta

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Marshall Islands

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Mauritania

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Mauritius

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Mexico

N (Mexico FBUs)

Mexico City

Mexico FBUs

Micronesia

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Moldova

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Monaco

N (Paris FBU)

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Mongolia

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Montenegro

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Morocco

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Mozambique

Y

London

Lisbon FBU

Namibia

Y

London

London FBU

Nauru

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Nepal

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Netherlands

Y

London

Dublin FBU

New Zealand

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Nicaragua

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Niger

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Nigeria

Y

London

London FBU

North Korea

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Norway

N (Oslo FBU)

London

Oslo FBU

Oman

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Pakistan

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Palau

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Palestinian Territories

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Panama

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Papua New Guinea

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Paraguay

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Peru

Y

San Jose

San Jose FBU

Philippines

N (Manila FBU)

Manila

Manila FBU

Poland

N (Warsaw/Krakow FBU)

Frankfurt

Warsaw/Krakow FBU

Portugal

N (Lisbon FBU)

London

Lisbon FBU

Qatar

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Romania

Y

Rome

Naples FBU

Russia

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Rwanda

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Saint Lucia

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Samoa

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

San Marino

N (Rome FBU)

Rome

Rome FBU

Sao Tome and Principe

Y

London

Lisbon FBU

Saudi Arabia

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Senegal

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Serbia

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Seychelles

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Sierra Leone

Y

London

London FBU

Singapore

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Sint Maarten

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Slovakia

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

Slovenia

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Solomon Islands

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Somalia

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

South Africa

Y

London

London FBU

South Korea

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

South Sudan

Y

Rome

Rome FBU

Spain

N (Madrid FBU)

London

Madrid FBU

Sri Lanka

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Sudan

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Suriname

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Sweden

Y

London

Oslo FBU

Switzerland

Y

Frankfurt

Frankfurt/Paris FBU

Syria*

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Taiwan

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Tajikistan

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Tanzania

Y

London

London FBU

Thailand

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Timor-Leste

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Togo

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Tonga

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Trinidad and Tobago

Y

San Jose

Santo Domingo FBU

Tunisia

Y

Frankfurt

Paris FBU

Turkey

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Turkmenistan

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Tuvalu

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Uganda

Y

London

London FBU

Ukraine

Y

Frankfurt

Warsaw FBU

United Arab Emirates

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

United Kingdom

N (London FBU)

London

London FBU

Uruguay

Y

San Jose

Buenos Aires FBU

Uzbekistan

Y

Rome

Athens FBU

Vanuatu

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Venezuela

Y

San Jose

Buenos Aires FBU

Vietnam

Y

Manila

Manila FBU

Yemen

Y

Rome

Jerusalem FBU

Zambia

Y

London

London FBU

Zimbabwe

Y

London

Lisbon FBU

7 FAM 538  SSA Restricted Countries

(CT:CON-754;   11-29-2017)

a. SSA restrictions prohibit the payment of benefits to, or on behalf of, beneficiaries in some former U.S. Treasury-restricted countries.  Although the Treasury Department restrictions have been lifted, payment cannot be made because the appropriate officials in those countries have not given SSA assurance of free access to beneficiaries/claimants and to vital statistics' records.  These countries are:

 

Azerbaijan

Tajikistan

 

 

Belarus

Turkmenistan

 

 

Georgia

Ukraine

 

 

Kazakhstan

Uzbekistan

 

 

Kyrgyzstan

 

 

 

Moldova

 

 

NOTE:  The necessary assurances of access were first requested by SSA through the Department of State when the Treasury restrictions were lifted.  For various reasons, those assurances still have not been provided.

b. Generally, beneficiaries in these countries can receive benefits withheld while they were in an SSA restricted country once they leave that country and go to a country where SSA can send payments.  However, they must meet all other requirements for payment.

c.  Exceptions to the nonpayment policy can be made for certain eligible beneficiaries residing in an SSA restricted country if they meet and agree to certain restricted conditions. Unless local instructions state otherwise, if a beneficiary contacts a post in one of the restricted countries and requests that an exception be made to the nonpayment policy, the post should take a written statement to this effect from him or her and send it to the servicing FBU.  Include the beneficiary's name, SSN, and complete local address.

7 FAM 539  Totalization Agreements

(CT:CON-754;   11-29-2017)

a. Since the late 1970's, the United States has established a network of bilateral Social Security agreements that coordinate the U.S. Social Security program with the comparable programs of other countries.  International Social Security agreements, often called "Totalization agreements," have two main purposes.  First, they eliminate dual Social Security taxation, the situation that occurs when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings.  Second, the agreements help fill gaps in benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the United States and another country.  Such workers may fail to qualify for social security benefits from one or both countries because they have not worked long enough to meet minimum eligibility requirements.  Under an agreement, each country can count credits in the other country if it will help a person qualify for benefits.  Although each country may count credits in the other country, credits are not actually transferred from one country to the other. 

Note:

 

See Social Security, International Programs, U.S. International Social Security Agreements

b. NCTPs refer all inquiries from individuals related to totalization agreements to the FBUs.

c.  Questions from posts about negotiation or implementation of a totalization agreement prior to its entry into force should be directed to CA/OCS/L at ASK-OCS-L@state.gov.

d. In regards to totalization agreements, the FBUs do the following:

(1)  Issue earning records.

(2)  Provide other information from SSA systems needed by the foreign agency to execute provisions of the agreement.

(3)  Make corrections to SSA records when necessary.

(4)  Process leads for benefits.

(5)  Obtain earnings or other information from the foreign agency.

(6)  Answer inquiries regarding rules of coverage and/or how to obtain a certificate of coverage.

e. Questions from posts about negotiation or implementation of a totalization agreement prior to its entry into force should be directed to CA/OCS/L at ASK-OCS-L@state.gov.

f.  The United States has totalization agreements with the following countries:

Country

Entry Into Force

Hungary

September 1, 2016

Slovak Republic

May 1, 2014

Poland

March 1, 2009

Czech Republic

January 1, 2009

Denmark

October 1, 2008

Japan

October 1, 2005

Australia

October 1, 2002

Chile

December 1, 2001

South Korea

April 1, 2001

Greece

September 1, 1994

Luxembourg

November 1, 1993

Ireland

September 1, 1993

Finland

November 1, 1992

Austria

November 1, 1991

Netherlands

November 1, 1990

Portugal

August 1, 1989

France

July 1, 1988

Spain

April 1, 1988

Sweden

January 1, 1987

United Kingdom

January 1, 1985

Canada

August 1, 1984

Norway

July 1, 1984

Belgium

July 1, 1984

Switzerland

November 1, 1980

Germany

December 1, 1979

Italy

November 1, 1978

 

UNCLASSIFIED (U)