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USA Topic: Expats telling Social Security they live at a U.S. address, is that fraud?


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A person is in violation of U.S. laws/regulations regarding payment of social security pension benefits by not notifying the SSA you are living outside the U.S.  Various U.S. laws/regulations prohibit

Yes, definately fraud, my UK friend has been found out, now he is paying back monthly what he owes

OK, to start off I have an academic interest in this only.  I personally have a social security claim based on my Thai address.  I know for a fact LOTS of expats in Thailand and elsewhere do

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How are you receiving SS?

If by direct deposit to Thai Bank, SS already knows you live outside the US. SS does not require direct deposit to a US bank account.

SS payments are essentially rembursements made from your years of SS withholdings, including interest. SS is called an "entitlement." You are entitled to such receipts. So I don't see fraud based on your place of residence.

Note that similarly Green Card holders who paid SS tax while working in the US are entitled to SS benefits when appropriate even they likely now live in a foreign (ie., home) country.

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Posted (edited)

Access to mySSA.com also requires a U.S. address, or whatever those military addresses are called.

 

 

I suspect that you agree to be truthful whenever you submit information to the U.S. government. There are probably terms you've agreed to, which stipulate relavant laws and punishments. Is it "fraud"? Probably not. Can it be justified or rationalized? Maybe, especially given the capriciousness of Thai Immigraton, which grant us a temporary permission to stay each year. Will they prosecute someone (for using a U.S. address)? I'm guessing no.

 

 

For SSA and IRS, I use the same valid Thai address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mtls2005
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1 minute ago, peleid said:

Yes, definately fraud, my UK friend has been found out, now he is paying back monthly what he owes

This kind of fraud isn't about stealing money so if caught the consequences wouldn't be paying back money. Instead maybe the payments would be stopped until the expat comes clean and always the option of suffering large fines.

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13 minutes ago, Jingthing said:

The main reason people do it is to avoid the proof of life letter requirement. 

Where does the SSA7162 form say it is for proof of life.

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8 hours ago, Jingthing said:

I recall reading of a case here of an expat being cut off from benefits for a long time and told he had committed fraud and they were doing him a favor not to fine or prosecute him. 

I'd be interested to know the circumstances of such a case....if it was even an American involved. 

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I would imagine it would be awkard if you use a US address and for some reason they want you to come into a SS office. Do you tell them then you are in Thailand? 

 

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37 minutes ago, ubonjoe said:

Where does the SSA7162 form say it is for proof of life.

It doesn't. It's a way the form is often colloquially referred to by expats.

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28 minutes ago, Berkshire said:

I'd be interested to know the circumstances of such a case....if it was even an American involved. 

I recall reading about it here several years ago. It would be archived but I think very difficult to locate by search. I recall it was about an American and that they put him through the wringer.

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45 minutes ago, ubonjoe said:

Where does the SSA7162 form say it is for proof of life. 

 

The form doesn't.    But  the SSA7162 used to help administer the SSA Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire policy (FEQ is the SSA7162's formal name) states its first purpose is to ensure the beneficiary is still alive

 

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302655001

 

Quote

 

A. Background Information — FEP

1. Origin of the FEP

The FEP is one of the integrity measures used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify the existence and identity of beneficiaries living outside the United States. It does not apply to countries where Treasury restrictions prohibit delivery of SSA payments (see RS 02650.001C). Contacts are made annually or biennially to help us determine if any events have occurred that affect the beneficiaries’ eligibility to benefits or their ability to handle their own funds.

2. Purpose of the FEP

The purpose of the FEP is to:

  • • Verify that the beneficiary is alive;
  • • Obtain information and documentation regarding events that may result in suspension, reduction and/or termination of benefits; e.g., change in citizenship, marriage, divorce, etc.
  • • Obtain an annual accounting report from the representative payee;
  • • Verify that there has been no change in custody for the incapable beneficiary; and
  • • Gather data for use in administering the Social Security Program outside the U.S.

     

    B. FEP Forms

    1. Two separate forms are used in the FEP:

    • • SSA-7162-OCR-SM (Report To United States Social Security Administration) to be completed by the beneficiary. See Instructions for form SSA-7162-INST).
       
    • • SSA-7161-OCR-SM (Report to United States Social Security Administration by Person Receiving Benefits For A Child Or Adult Unable to Handle Funds). See Instructions for form SSA-7161-INST).

 

 

 

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I believe there is a difference between having a US/UK et al correspondence address and claiming one lives there. Many use there brother's/sister's address for correspondence. 

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It is not about having address in the US and living abroad. Nothing is wrong with that.
if one lives abroad he/she will not be eligible for benefits such as "rent assist" or "other extras" and receiver of the benefits must report it as soon as moving  abroad, otherwise there will "penalty" and he/she has to pay back all extras since moved to out of the US. 

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47 minutes ago, jingjai9 said:

I would imagine it would be awkard if you use a US address and for some reason they want you to come into a SS office. Do you tell them then you are in Thailand? 

 

Yes 

Having address in the US is not against the law, but receiving "extra benefits" base on living at that address in the US is. 

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1 hour ago, Jingthing said:

This kind of fraud isn't about stealing money so if caught the consequences wouldn't be paying back money. Instead maybe the payments would be stopped until the expat comes clean and always the option of suffering large fines.

Yes it is if one gets a pension from Australia in such case if you live in Thailand and state your Address in Australia you will get a Few more $ then when you tell them that you live in Thailand with a n Thai Address.

I inquired about that before I moved to Thailand When you live abroad your pension will just be the Base pension No extras .No medicare . so it is a Money Fraud.

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1 hour ago, Jingthing said:

Sorry but I'm still pretty sure it is fraud. The main reason people do it is to avoid the proof of life letter requirement. 

Not me !!!!

I just want to keep my bank accounts in the US and my banks are already informed (they see my location and the country that I call from + my IP address that is Thailand) I live abroad, but I have an address in the US. Once in a while they mail some annual documents to my US address, not a problem. 

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You cannot live outside the USA and claim SS if you are on a Green Card. They will not pay you your SS in these cases. When I was retired and had a Green Card and returned to the USA after spending two weeks in Thailand they questioned me extensively without saying why. While I waited for my ongoing flight from Canada to the USA I checked the internet and discovered why they were so rigorous with the questions. After that I got citizenship to eliminate this issue.

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3 hours ago, Srikcir said:

How are you receiving SS?

If by direct deposit to Thai Bank, SS already knows you live outside the US. SS does not require direct deposit to a US bank account.

SS payments are essentially rembursements made from your years of SS withholdings, including interest. SS is called an "entitlement." You are entitled to such receipts. So I don't see fraud based on your place of residence.

Note that similarly Green Card holders who paid SS tax while working in the US are entitled to SS benefits when appropriate even they likely now live in a foreign (ie., home) country.

Your last statement is not true.....you cannot live outside the USA on a Green Card and collect SS. Check the SS website.

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15 minutes ago, CMBob said:

Huh? One shouldn't confuse US social security benefits with what other countries do or don't do.  For those entitled to US social security, there are no "extra benefits" (you get what you're entitled to based on your earnings history) and the amount you get is totally unrelated to where you live (inside or outside the US).

 

You need to educate yourself. 
good luck 

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10 minutes ago, Mansell said:

You cannot live outside the USA and claim SS if you are on a Green Card. They will not pay you your SS in these cases. When I was retired and had a Green Card and returned to the USA after spending two weeks in Thailand they questioned me extensively without saying why. While I waited for my ongoing flight from Canada to the USA I checked the internet and discovered why they were so rigorous with the questions. After that I got citizenship to eliminate this issue.

I assume that you never never paid employment tax in the US. 
There are many workers in the US (some on Visa, others on GC) who eventually go back to their countries. They pay tax by their employer and they will receive SS benefits. There countries that already have a deal with US SS regarding this matter such as Philippines or Japan. For example there is a SS office in Tokyo for those Japanese who worked in the US and paid tax to US SS system. 

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1 hour ago, jingjai9 said:

I would imagine it would be awkard if you use a US address and for some reason they want you to come into a SS office. Do you tell them then you are in Thailand? 

 

On holiday

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, foreverlomsak said:

On holiday

And when they reschedule for a month or two later....on holiday again?   Will need more reasons....maybe start off with holiday....then shift to in the hospital....then shift to attending a funeral (dead person still to be determined)....etc....etc.   The SSA ain't dumb....they know people sometimes try to hide certain info/avoid certain issues.

Edited by Pib
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3 hours ago, mtls2005 said:

Access to mySSA.com also requires a U.S. address, or whatever those military addresses are called.

 

 

I suspect that you agree to be truthful whenever you submit information to the U.S. government. There are probably terms you've agreed to, which stipulate relavant laws and punishments. Is it "fraud"? Probably not. Can it be justified or rationalized? Maybe, especially given the capriciousness of Thai Immigraton, which grant us a temporary permission to stay each year. Will they prosecute someone (for using a U.S. address)? I'm guessing no.

 

 

For SSA and IRS, I use the same valid Thai address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am using a Thai address for SS, but still can access my account, they send me a code to log in with. I did set up this account when I was living in the US

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