GringoPost | Cuenca, Ecuador: Social Security benefits recipients

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Social Security benefits recipients

June and July are the months you need to send in your SSA 7162 "proof of life" form to the Social Security folks. Normally it's mailed to you in May or June. You have a couple months to fill it out and send it in. That's if you get it.

Surprise, you now live in Ecuador. Here in Ecuador this doesn't happen. The forms are mailed but Ecuadorian mail service usually doesn't deliver them. So, you must do this whole thing yourself or your benefits will be stopped. Once you correct things and send in the form they resume retroactively so there's nothing lost monetarily. Never wait for the SSA form to arrive at your door here.

This is important. You must attend to this every two years.

www.pdffiller.com/100006646-fillable-2011-ssa-7162-ocr-sm-form-secure-ssa is where you download the form to print it out and sign it. It's easy and has two sides You must fill out. That link is a PDF filler outer thingamabob. Google SSA 7162 for other information. You can download the form from other sties to print out, fill out, sign.

To help confuse things SSA has the following policy.

If your social security number ends in 00 through 49, your form will be mailed out in May and June of even numbered years. If it doesn't arrive (assume it won't), take the initiative as suggested above.

If your social security number ends in 50 through 99, your form will be mailed out in May and June of odd numbered years. If it doesn't arrive (assume it won't), take the initiative as suggested above.

This means, if your SS number ends in 00 thru 49, you need to do this now, as in now, since this year is an even numbered year, 2016 and subsequently in 2018, 2020 etc.

Naturally, some of us forget this formula and forget to send in the form, and of course faithfully the payments just stop with no warning.

I've heard SSA won't accept scanned forms any more, you must print it out, fill it out, according to what I "heard", and mail in that hard copy with preferably blue ink to fill it out with and sign in (more difficult to forge I guess?). Black will work however.

Now...caveat, I don't know if scanned forms are accepted or not. My scanned form, scanned after I filled it out, via email to Citizens' Services in the Quito Embassy, was accepted this year by the Embassy's Citizen's Services SSA branch in Quito. The Quito SSA folks are gold. They are on top of things and do you proud.

Since many of us do collect SSA retirement benefits each month I thought I'd post this reminder.

Chuck Brown