Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Federal Benefits

Federal Benefits and Social Security Services

The U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, does not have a Federal Benefits and Social Security services unit.  However, the American Citizen Services unit provides some limited federal benefits/Social Security services, such as liaising with the Social Security Administration's regional and domestic offices regarding specific benefits claims and cases.

The U.S. Embassy does not keep copies of any submitted claims.  Please be sure to make a copy of your claims before coming to your appointment.

Switch to Electronic Federal Benefit Payments

The Treasury Department’s deadline for phasing out paper checks for Federal Benefit payments was March 1, 2013.  If you were receiving a paper check for your Social Security or other federal benefit payments, you were required by law to switch to an electronic payment method by March 1.  To read more about this requirement, go to Go Direct: Direct Deposit for Social Security & Federal Benefits.  If you did not choose an electronic payment option by March 1, you are out of compliance with the law.

In the event you have an uncashed paper check, verify with your bank, and if it is not accepted then contact us at LimaACS@state.gov.  We will return the check to the agency for reissue through the direct deposit system and assist you in enrolling in direct deposit.

Consider Wait Times When Applying for Benefits

The U.S. Embassy receives a large number of federal benefit claims every day.  We would like to remind everyone that we accept but cannot process claims for the federal agencies of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Social Security Administration (SSA), and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  Claims are sent to the SSA Regional Office/ Federal Benefits Unit in San Jose, Costa Rica, for processing and development, and for final adjudication to the SSA Office of International Operations in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The waiting period is: 

  • 3-5 months for an initial benefit claim;
  • 1-3 months for a Social Security card application;
  • 6-12 months for disability claims; and,
  • Up to 3 months for other claims. 

You should contact the Embassy to check on the status of your case only after the specified waiting period has passed and you still have not received a response from the benefit agency.  Please do not contact us regarding the status of your case before that time.  For all appointments and inquiries, please email us at LimaACS@state.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

 

How to apply for a Social Security Number

 

For children under 12 years old

To apply:

Step 1: Complete Form SS-5-FS.

Step 2: Gather the following original documents:

Proof of the child's birth:

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, or Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
  • Original Peruvian Birth Certificate.
  • If the child was born in the U.S. you must also submit proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S. for a significant period of time to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past. Proof of foreign residency can include medical, school and employment records.

Proof of the child's U.S. citizenship:

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, or
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad and original Peruvian Birth Certificate

Proof of the child's identity:

  • Original U.S. Passport (must be current and signed by one parent)

Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application:

  • Original U.S. Passport (must be current and signed) and/or
  • Original Peruvian Passport (must be current and signed)

Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

Step 4: Bring the required form and documentation to your appointment.

 

 

For adults and children 12 years old and over

Anyone over the age of 12 must present themselves in person at the U.S. Embassy.

To apply:

Step 1: Complete Form SS-5-FS.

Step 2: Gather the following original documents:

Proof of birth:

  • Original U.S. birth certificate or Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
  • Original Foreign birth certificate.
  • If you or the child was born in the U.S. you must also submit proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S. for a significant period of time to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past.
    • 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 

Proof of U.S. citizenship:

  • Original U.S. birth certificate
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate

Proof of identity:

  • Original U.S. Passport (must be current and signed)
  • Original Peruvian Passport (must be current 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).

  • Original U.S. Passport (must be current and signed) and/or
  • Original Peruvian or foreign Passport (must be current and signed)

Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to limaacs@state.gov.

Step 4: Bring the required form and documentation to your appointment.

 

 

How to Report your Address Annually to Avoid Suspension of Benefits

Each year some beneficiaries are required to complete Form SSA-7161 or SSA-7162, either once or twice a year.  The form is sent with a return envelope to the Social Security Administration (SSA) facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  The purpose of the form is to ensure SSA has the correct address and phone number on file and that circumstances that may affect payment have been reported.

If you received Form SSA-7161 or SSA-7162, complete them and mail them back to the address in the return envelope provideded.

If you did not receive Form SSA-7161 or SSA-7162 by June 1 (if you normally receive the form(s) twice a year) and/or by December 1 (if you receive the form(s) once a year), please follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Complete the following application:

Step 2: Gather a valid picture ID document (original U.S. passport or foreign passport), current and signed.

Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to limaacs@state.gov.

Step 4: Bring the required form(s) and documentation to your appointment.

 

 

Reporting a New Address to the Social Security Administration

To report a change of address:

Step 1: Complete the following application(s), depending on which situation applies to you:

    If you are moving within Peru:

    * Use SSA-7161 if receiving benefits for a child or adult unable to handle funds.

    If you are moving from the United States to Peru:

    Step 2: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

    Step 3: Bring the required form(s) to your appointment.

      Note: Until you actually apply for benefit payments, the Social Security Administration does not keep your current address on record.  When your automatic Social Security Statement is mailed to you, the SSA uses the address provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Your address will be automatically updated when you file your next U.S. Tax Return or you can correct the address that IRS has on file by completing the Form 8822 and mailing it to IRS.

       

       

      Requesting a Change to Direct Deposit

      Banks in Peru are no longer accepting any foreign drawn checks, including U.S. Treasury checks.  Therefore, individuals residing in Peru must receive their benefits through direct deposit at Interbank or a U.S. bank.

      What is a Direct Deposit?

      Direct Deposit is the mechanism by which your payments are electronically transferred to your bank account.  It is the most convenient, fastest and secure method of payment, because it prevents interruptions or delays in receiving benefits, caused by post office delays, strikes, etc. 

      Once you enroll, electronic transfers to your bank account will normally take place on the 3rd day of the month.  However, if the payment date coincides with a non-business day, the payment will be transmitted on the next business day.  This means that your money can be available for withdrawal on the 3rd or 5th of each month, depending on the bank you choose. 

      How do I enroll in Direct Deposit?

      Step 1: Complete the following applications:

        Step 2: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

        Step 3: Bring the required form(s) to your appointment.

          After your appointment, you will be instructed to open a Direct Deposit U.S. Dollar account at any Interbank branch.  After submitting your documents and opening your account, the process will take approximately 30-60 days.  You will continue to receive your payments by mail until the direct deposit account goes into effect.  Please note that generally, the due date to include a bank account into a record is on the 18th of each month.  Any change after this day will most likely be processed the following month and, therefore, will be effective 2 months later. 

          If you have received a paper check, please send an email to LimaACS@state.gov to set up a special appointment to come to the Embassy.  You will be required to bring your paper check, your Social Security number or card, and a valid picture ID.  We will return your paper check to the agency for reissue through the direct deposit system and assist you in enrolling in Direct Deposit (if you have not enrolled yet).

           

           

          Applying for Retirement Benefits

          To apply:

          Step 1: Complete the following applications:

            Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

              • Birth certificate or baptismal record from country of birth recorded before age 5
              • Valid picture ID
              • U.S. or Foreign Passport, current and signed
              • Proof of Military Service (prior to 1968)

              Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

              Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                * If you are still residing in the United States, you are able to apply for retirement benefits online at SSA.gov.

                 

                 

                Applying for Spouse Benefits

                Even if your spouse has never worked under Social Security, he or she can begin collecting the benefits as early as age 62.  However, if the benefit begins early, the amount will be permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months up to his or her full retirement age.  Click here to view the Retirement Planner Chart.

                To apply:

                Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                  Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                    • Birth certificate or baptismal record from country of birth recorded before age 5
                    • Valid picture ID
                    • U.S. or Foreign Passport, current and signed
                    • Marriage Certificate

                    Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                    Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                      For more information on how to apply for benefits as a spouse, please visit the Social Security Administration website.

                       

                       

                      Applying for Child Benefits

                      Your child can receive benefits if he or she is your biological child, adopted child, or dependent stepchild.  In some cases, your child could also be eligible for benefits on his or her grandparents' earnings.

                      To receive benefits, a child must have:

                      • A parent who is disabled or retired and entitled to Social Security benefits; or
                      • A parent who died after having worked long enough in a job where he or she paid Social Security taxes.

                      The child must also be:

                      • Unmarried;
                      • Younger than age 18;
                      • 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or
                      • 18 or older and disabled (the disability must have started before age 22).

                      Please visit the Social Security Administration website for more information on benefits for children.

                      To apply:

                      Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                      Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                      • Birth certificate or baptismal record from country of birth recorded before age 5
                      • Child’s Valid picture ID
                      • Child’s US or Foreign Passport, current and signed
                      • Representative Payee’s ID document (valid passport or picture ID)

                      Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                      Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                       

                       

                      Applying for Widow Benefits

                      If you are a widow or widower, you may apply for Social Security benefits. 

                      Widow/widower benefits based on age can start any time between age 60 and full retirement age as a survivor. If the benefits start at an earlier age, they are reduced by a fraction of a percent for each month before full retirement age.

                      Persons receiving widow/widower benefits who will qualify for a retirement benefit that is more than their survivor's benefit, can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70.  The rules are complex and vary depending on the situation.

                      To apply:

                      Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                        Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                          • Birth certificate or baptismal record from country of birth recorded before age 5
                          • Valid picture ID
                          • U.S. or Foreign Passport, current and signed
                          • Marriage Certificate
                          • Death Certificate

                          Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to limaacs@state.gov.

                            Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                             

                             

                            Applying for Lump Sum Death Benefit

                            If you are the surviving spouse or parent of the deceased worker or the surviving divorced spouse (married 10 years or more ), you may be entitled benefits on the deceased's record.  You may apply if are age 60 or older and within 2 years of the worker's death.

                            To apply:

                            Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                            Step 2: Gather de the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                            • Death certificate
                            • Valid picture ID document (US Passport or foreign passport)
                            • Marriage Certificate (if spouse is claimant)
                            • Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of claimant
                            • Parents of deceased workers must prove one-half support:  Proof of regular contributions made by the worker, in cash, kind or services to the claimant, which equals or exceeds ONE-HALF of the claimant's income from ALL sources.

                            Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                            Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                             

                             

                            Applying for Adult Disability Benefits (DIP)

                            To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security.  Then you must have a medical condition that prevents you from working and that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.  Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis.  However, if you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

                            Requirements to receive adult disability benefits are:

                            • You must be age 18 or older;
                            • You are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
                            • You have a medical condition that has prevented you from working or is expected to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or end in death.

                            Disability benefit claims can usually take up to 6 to 8 months from application date and, in some cases, 12 to 16 months before a final determination is reached by SSA Disability Examiners at SSA Main Office, Baltimore, Md.

                            To apply:

                            Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                            *Information on Representative Payee if medical condition requires it.

                            Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                            • Birth Certificate
                            • Valid picture ID document (US Passport or foreign passport)
                            • Marriage Certificate
                            • Divorce Decree
                            • Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of claimant
                            • Medical Records
                            • W-2 Form or IRS Income tax files from the previous year

                            Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                            Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                             

                             

                            Applying for Benefits for a Disabled Child

                            A child under  age 18 may be disabled, but Social Security will not consider the child’s disability when deciding if he or she qualifies for benefits as a dependent under a parent's Social Security record.  The  child’s benefits normally stop at the age of 18 unless he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or high school (benefits can continue until age 19) or is disabled with a condition that effects his/her ability to function.

                            For a child with a disability to receive benefits on parent's record after age 18, must meet the following conditions:

                            • The disabling impairment must have started before age 22, and
                            • He or she must meet the definition of disability for adults.

                            Adults Disabled Before Age 22

                            An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits.  Social Security considers this child's benefits because it is paid on a parent's SS earnings record.

                            The adult child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a  stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild, must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.

                            It is not necessary that the adult child ever worked.  If the adult child is currently working, he or she must not have substantial earnings, which in the year 2012 meant more than $1,010.00 a month.

                            If the parent never worked, no benefits can be paid to the disabled adult child on parent’s record.

                            If the adult child gets married and has received benefits since childhood, his benefits generally end, except in some marriages (for example, to another disabled adult child), which are considered protected.

                            To apply:

                            Step 1:  Complete the following applications:

                            *Information on Representative Payee if medical condition requires it.

                            Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                            • Birth Certificate
                            • Valid picture ID document (US Passport or foreign passport)
                            • Marriage Certificate (If applicable)
                            • Divorce Decree (If applicable)
                            • Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of claimant
                            • Medical Records
                            • W-2 Form or IRS Income tax files from the previous year (If applicable)

                            Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                            Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                            A booklet on Benefits For Children With Disabilities is available for the parents, caregivers or representatives of children younger than age 18 who have disabilities that might make them eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.  It is also for adults who became disabled in childhood and who might be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.  This booklet will help you decide if a child might be eligible for SSI or Social Security.

                             

                             

                            Applying for Parent Benefits

                            If you are the surviving parent of the deceased worker, you may be entitled to receive benefits if you   have been dependent on the worker for half of your support at the time of the worker’s death or at the time the worker became disabled.

                            To apply:

                            Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                              * Form SSA-760 and Proof of one half support

                              Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                                • Death certificate
                                • Valid picture ID document (US Passport or foreign passport)
                                • Proof of Relationship with deceased worker
                                • Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of claimant
                                • Proof of Citizenship
                                • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns, if claimant is US citizen or US Legal Resident.
                                • Parent applicants must prove one-half support:  Proof of regular contributions made by the worker, in cash, kind or services (food, clothing, shelter) to the claimant, which equals or exceeds ONE-HALF of the claimant’s income from ALL sources.

                                Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                                Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                                 

                                 

                                Applying for Benefits of a Dependent Child’s Parent

                                If you are the surviving parent of the deceased worker you may be entitled to benefits on the deceased’s record if you are caring for his/her dependent child.

                                To apply:

                                Step 1: Complete the following applications:

                                Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies (8.5" x 14" or 216mm x 356mm):

                                • Death certificate
                                • Valid picture ID document of parent (US Passport or foreign passport)
                                • Valid picture ID document of child (US Passport or foreign passport)
                                • Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of parent
                                • Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate of child

                                Step 3: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                                Step 4: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

                                 

                                 

                                Medicare Enrollment

                                We can accept applications from eligible U.S. citizens wishing to sign up for Medicare.  However, Medicare does not cover medical treatment outside the United States.

                                Medicare and coverage outside the United States 

                                Medicare pays only for services in the 50 States, D.C., and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico.  An exception is that Medicare will provide coverage in Canada and Mexico when an emergency occurs in the United States and the nearest hospital is over the border and it is a matter of life or death.  Additionally, there are specific situations in which Medicare will cover medically necessary health care services if the individual is on a cruise ship near the border of Mexico or Canada, certain regulations apply.  In any other situations or any other country Medicare will NOT pay for health services - even in emergency situations.

                                For official information on Medicare coverage outside the United States, please review the Medicare Coverage Outside the U.S. pamphlet (PDF 60 KB) or call 1-800- MEDICARE (633-4227). 

                                To request for cancellation of Medicare Part B:

                                Step 1: Complete Form CMS-2690

                                Step 2: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

                                Step 3: Bring the required form to your appointment.

                                The amount of monthly premiums can be found on the Medicare monthly premiums page at Medicare.gov.

                                To enroll for Medicare:

                                Step 1: Complete Form CMS-40B

                                Step 2: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to limaacs@state.gov.

                                Step 3: Bring the required form to your appointment.

                                Medicare Supplemental Insurance

                                Please refer to the Medicare website for more information.

                                You may also write to:

                                Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
                                7500 Security Boulevard
                                Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

                                Or call: 1-800-633-4227

                                To Report Medicare Fraud:

                                For information on how to report Medicare fraud and abuse, please visit the How to Report Fraud and Abuse page at Medicare.gov or call: 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

                                Telephone access is available for the deaf and hard-of-hearing at 1-800-325-0778.  There is also a website for Spanish speakers.

                                Adobe Reader

                                • Download Free
                                  Download Free

                                  All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format.  To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  You may download a free version by clicking the link above.