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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.

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.

Once you have submitted your application, a Social Security representative will contact you directly.  The Social Security representative will inform you about any additional documentation that may be required and regarding the approximate wait time.

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.

If you applied for your benefits online, you may check your case status online.  This online service allows you to check the status of your completed retirement, survivor or disability application.  Please allow 5 days from the date you originally filed your application before you use this service.

How to:

 

Apply for a Social Security Number

 

For children under 12 years old

Children under 12 years old are not required to attend the appointment.  Both parents may come, but only the U.S. citizen parent may submit the application on behalf of their minor child.

To apply:

Step 1: Complete Form SS-5-FS (must be signed by the U.S. citizen parent)

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 (CRBA).
  • 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 (CBRA) and original Peruvian birth certificate.

Proof of the child's identity:

  • Original U.S. passport (must be current and signed by the U.S. citizen parent).

Proof of the identity of the U.S. citizen parent signing the application:

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

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

Step 4: Bring the required form and documentation to the appointment.  Minors under the age of 12 are not required to come to the appointment.

 

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For adults and children 12 years old and over

Adults and children over the age of 12 years old must attend their appointment.  Both parents may come, but only the U.S. citizen parent may submit the application on behalf of their minor child.

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 (CRBA).
  • Original Peruvian 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 (CRBA)
  • 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 identity of the U.S. citizen parent signing the application, if applicable (a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18).  If the child is old enough to sign the SS-5 and knows the information needed to complete the form (name, DOB, POB, parents names, etc.), they may sign it and apply for the Social Security Number on their own behalf, thus eliminating the requirement of having to present the U.S. citizen parent's passport.  The child does not need to actually complete all the information, they just need to sign the SS-5.

  • If applicable, original U.S. passport (must be current and signed)

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

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

 

 

Replace a lost or stolen Social Security Card / Retrieve a lost or stolen Social Security Number

You should apply for a replacement card even if you cannot recall your Social Security Number.

To apply:

Step 1: Complete Form SS-5-FS.

Step 2: Gather your original U.S. passport , current and signed. If the replacement card is for a child, we need to see the child’s passport and the passport of the parent signing the form.

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

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

 

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Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (FEQ): Forms SSA-7161 or SSA-7162

The Social Security Administration (SSA) contacts beneficiaries with foreign addresses on their SSA record residing outside the United States annually to verify their current status.

In June of this year, the SSA mailed the questionnaire to beneficiaries receiving their own benefits whose social security number ended in 50-99, beneficiaries over the age of 90, or to beneficiaries who have representative payees (person receiving benefits on behalf of a minor or disabled person).  Selected beneficiaries receive the form with an envelope to the SSA facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

In October, SSA mailed a follow-up notice to selected beneficiaries that did not respond to the original questionnaire sent in July 2013.  If you received the questionnaire, please return it to the address on the envelope SSA provided.

SSA will suspend the benefits if they do not receive a completed and signed Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (form SSA-7162 or SSA-7161).

If your benefits are interrupted for failure to return the questionnaire, it may take SSA 45-days or longer to resume your payments.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the questionnaire, we ask you to contact LimaACS@state.gov.  Please include your full name, social security claim number, two telephone numbers where we can reach you, and a brief description of your inquiry.  If you do not have the form, you can download it here: SSA-7161 (PDF -175kb) or SSA-7162 (PDF - 164kb).  Print it double-sided and mail it directly to Wilkes-Barre, PA.

 

Where to mail your questionnaire:

 

Mail Form SSA-7161 to: Mail Form SSA-7162 to:
Social Security Administration Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 7161 P.O. Box 7162
Wilkes Barre, PA 18767-7161 Wilkes Barre, PA 18767-7162

 

 

 

 

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Report a Change of Address to the Social Security Administration

Step 1: Complete the following application(s), if you are moving from the United States to Peru, you do not need to complete an application.

If you are moving within Peru:

  • Form SSA-7161 (use this form if you are the representative payee for a child or adult unable to handle funds)

If you are moving from the United States to Peru:

  • You do not need to complete an application

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

Step 3: Bring the required form to your appointment (if applicable), and your valid passport.

    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.

     

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    Receive your payments in a Peruvian bank account - Switch 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. 

    How do I enroll in Direct Deposit?

    Step 1: Request an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

      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. 

      Step 2: Bring your DNI or carne de extranjeria to the appointment.

      Note: 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 assist you to cash your paper check in a local bank, and to enroll in Direct Deposit (if you have not enrolled yet).

       

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      Request a Social Security Statement

      You will need to create an account on the Social Security Administration website, for example, for procedures with the AFP's.  This will allow you to view your statement online and print it at any time.

       

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      Apply for Benefits

       

       

      Retirement Benefits

      Qualified US workers can apply for retirement benefits to begin at age 62 or later.  Read more information about retirement benefits.

      To apply:

      Step 1: Apply online

      Step 2: An SSA representative will contact you regarding your application, and instruct you on what additional documents to submit.

      Step 3: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

      • Birth certificate or baptismal record from country of birth recorded before age 5
      • U.S. or Peruvian passport, current and signed
      • Proof of military service (prior to 1968)

      Step 4: Once you have been contacted by a SSA representative, you may request an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

      Step 5: Bring the required documentation to your appointment.

       

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      Spouse Benefits

      To apply:

      Step 1: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

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

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

      Step 3: Bring the required documentation to your appointment.

      Read more information on benefits for a spouse.

       

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      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: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

      • Birth certificate or baptismal record from country of birth recorded before age 5
      • Child's U.S. or Peruvian passport, current and signed
      • Representative payee's valid passport

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

      Step 3: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

       

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      Benefits for a Widow(er)

      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: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

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

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

          Step 3: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

           

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          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: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

          • Death certificate
          • U.S. or Peruvian passport, current and signed
          • 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 2: Schedule an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

          Step 3: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

          Find more information about the lump sum death benefit.

           

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          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.

          To apply:

          Step 1: Apply online.

          Step 2: A SSA representative will contact you regarding your application and instruct you on what additional documents to submit.

          Step 3: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

          • Birth certificate
          • U.S. or Peruvian passport, current and signed
          • Marriage certificate (if the disability benefits are being requested for the spouse)
          • Divorce decree (if the disability benefits are being requested for the divorced spouse)
          • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate of claimant, recorded before age 5
          • Medical records

          Step 4: Once you have been contacted by a SSA representative, you may request an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

          Step 5: Bring the required documentation to your appointment.

           

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          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.  In 2014, this means working and earning more than $1,070.00 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 application:

          Step 2: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

          • Birth certificate
          • U.S. or Peruvian passport, current and signed
          • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
          • Divorce decree (if applicable)
          • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate of claimant, recorded before age 5
          • Medical records

          Step 3: Request 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.

           

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          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: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

            • Death certificate
            • U.S. or Peruvian passport, current and signed
            • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate of deceased worker
            • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate of claimant
            • 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 2: Request an appointment by sending an email to LimaACS@state.gov.

            Step 3: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

             

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            Dependent Child's Parent Benefits

            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: Gather the following original documents and legal-sized copies:

            • Death certificate
            • US passport or Peruvian passport of parent
            • US passport or Peruvian passport of child
            • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate of parent
            • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate of child

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

            Step 3: Bring the required forms and documentation to your appointment.

             

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            Medicare

            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). 


            Request cancellation of Medicare Part B

            Step 1: Complete Form CMS-2690

            Step 2: Request 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.

             

            Enroll for Medicare

            Step 1: Complete Form CMS-40B

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

            Step 3: Bring the required form to your appointment.

             

            Replacement Medicare Card

            Request a replacement Medicare Card


            Request a letter saying that you have Medicare

            If you need proof that you have Medicare coverage, you can obtain your benefit verification letter online by logging into your my Social Security account.

             

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