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


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1 hour 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.

Your wrong on that I know several Thais who are collecting in Thailand and they are not US citizens

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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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SSA Policy regarding use of a U.S. "mailing" address but lives abroad.   And your "mailing" address is not to be confused with "residence/physical" address as your residence/physical determines how you are viewed under Foreign Enforcement Program (i.e., do you receive a periodic dead or alive form).  

 

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0202401080

 

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Program Operations Manual System (POMS)

Effective Dates: 01/11/2017 - PresentPrevious | Next
 

TN 28 (01-17)

GN 02401.080 Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad

A. When To Use A U.S. Mailing Address

A beneficiary abroad may use a U.S. mailing address when he or she:

  • • has an Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office or Diplomatic Post Office address,
  • • has a representative payee in the U.S., or
  • • expects to be abroad for 3 months or less.

NOTE: The beneficiary (or their representative payee) must always keep SSA advised of his or her residence address for contact and foreign enforcement purposes.

B. When Not To Use A U.S. Mailing Address

A beneficiary may not use a mailing address in the U.S. to receive payment when he or she:

  • • travels abroad for more than 3 months;
  • •resides in a Treasury restricted country listed in RS 02650.001C; or
  • •resides in a barred country listed in RS 02650.040.

NOTE: Do not send checks to relatives or friends in the U.S. for beneficiaries who are abroad more than 3 months except during interim periods while developing a proper mailing address.

C. Receiving Benefit Payments While Having A Foreign Address

A beneficiary with a foreign address living outside the U.S. may have his or her benefit payment sent to a financial institution (FI) of his or her choice. Title XVI recipients are ineligible to receive benefits while residing outside of the U.S. unless an exception applies. For more information on exceptions, see GN 00303.700A.

1. Checks mailed to an FI

If a beneficiary wants his or her benefit check mailed directly to an FI in the country of residence, the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) must receive and approve a completed Treasury form SF-233 (Power of Attorney by Individual to a Bank for the Collection of Checks Drawn on the United States).

NOTE: Some countries refuse to negotiate government issued paper checks.

2. Direct deposit with a foreign address

Beneficiaries using International Direct Deposit (IDD) must reside outside the U.S. If a beneficiary wants benefits deposited to a local FI in his or her country of residence, he or she must reside in a country where we have a valid and active IDD agreement. For a list of participating IDD countries, see GN 02402.200. Beneficiaries may reside in one foreign country and have IDD arrangements in another foreign country (e.g., a beneficiary who resides in Belgium but banks in France). The only exception is if the beneficiary resides in a restricted country.

 

 

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3 hours ago, peleid said:

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

Yes, that will happen if he is caught claiming pension credit or any other benefit that he is not entitled to unless he lives permanently in the UK.

This does not include the state pension, if he is caught living in Thailand while using a UK address, the DWP will stop his annual pension increases, but they cannot make him pay anything  back.

Edited by possum1931
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2 hours 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? 

 

Why not, you could be on holiday, I don't imagine that any American who is on any of their benefits cannot go on holiday to another country, although they will probably have to notify the authorities, and there will probably be a limit to how long they can stay.

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8 minutes ago, possum1931 said:

Yes, that will happen if he is caught claiming pension credit or any other benefit that he is not entitled to unless he lives permanently in the UK.

This does not include the state pension, if he is caught living in Thailand while using a UK address, the DWP will stop his annual pension increases, but they cannot make him pay it back.

 

Just wonder, though, whether @peleid's UK pal is claiming USA Social Security rather than the UK State Pension?

 

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1 minute ago, OJAS said:

 

Just wonder, though, whether @peleid's UK pal is claiming USA Social Security rather than the UK State Pension?

 

How can he claim USA Social Security if he is from the UK? He was probably claiming some sort of credit, ie pension credit.

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1 hour 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.

A Green Card holder can collect SS benefits while living abroad....as can a non-citizen.  It basically boils down to having lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years whether you decided to obtain U.S. citizenship or not.   

 

I expect the questioning you got had zero to do with SS benefits, but other things that can trigger such questioning.

 

And of course a Green Card holder staying out of the U.S too long can impact the validity of his/her Green Card....but that has nothing to do with SS benefits if a person meet the U.S. 5 year residency requirement before moving abroad.   

 

https://finance.zacks.com/green-card-holders-living-abroad-eligible-social-security-benefits-7673.html

 

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Resident Status

Although a green card holder may collect his Social Security benefits while living abroad, he needs to be cognizant of the amount of time he spends there. Green card holders who plan to live outside of the U.S. for more than one year must obtain a returning resident visa or reentry permit prior to leaving or they risk losing their permanent residency status, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Those who get a reentry permit, but stay abroad more than two years after it was issued, also may have their green card revoked, as may resident aliens who relocate to another country. When a green card holder elects to live in a country which has no tax treaty with the U.S, he should be prepared for his benefit payments to cease after six months.

Payment Considerations

Those living outside of the U.S. must keep the SSA informed of address and marital status changes and complete any questionnaires it sends them to avoid payment stops. The SSA offers three payment methods for green card holders and non-U.S. citizens: check, Direct Express debit card and direct deposit. Cashing a benefit check incurs a currency exchange fee that can be avoided through direct deposit in an account with a bank located in any of nearly 50 countries that have agreed to accept SSA electronic transfers. The Direct Express debit card acts as a normal bank debit card for purchases, ATM withdrawals and payments. U.S. consulates and embassies can assist with undelivered checks and direct deposit bank information. The SSA has an international number for debit card questions and enrollment: 1-765-778-6290.

 


 

 

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2 minutes ago, possum1931 said:

How can he claim USA Social Security if he is from the UK? He was probably claiming some sort of credit, ie pension credit.

 

As @flexomike has stated,  he is aware of several Thais who are collecting Social Security in Thailand and they are not US citizens. So why can't British nationals collect in the UK by the same token?

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3 hours ago, peleid said:

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

Boy, if the US can do that to a British citizen there's going to be a lot expats in trouble.

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3 hours ago, peleid said:

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

 

So has your UK pal, in fact, been found out as regards USA Social Security, as per the topic of this thread? 

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If you have a residence in the U.S. where you receive your maIl from all state and government entities and live most of the year in Thailand, there is no fraud about it.

And as stated earlier in the blog by another, You paid into the system and you are do those funds as required by law, there is no rule about where you live. You do have to file taxes if you make above a certain amount

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3 minutes ago, JESSVANPELT said:

If you have a residence in the U.S. where you receive your maIl from all state and government entities and live most of the year in Thailand, there is no fraud about it.

And as stated earlier in the blog by another, You paid into the system and you are do those funds as required by law, there is no rule about where you live. You do have to file taxes if you make above a certain amount

No rule about where you live!?   Apparently you selectively only read certain posts and/or want to believe SS benefits are paid to you no matter where you live on Earth, whether you comply with SS laws/regulations or not.

 

Recommend you review some of other posts, especially those linking to/quoting SSA regulations/policies vs just believing its you god-given right to receive SS benefits and the SSA has to pay you no matter what regardless of where you live, information you provide them, etc.

 

Now would the SSA charge you with fraud for not notifying them of your actual residential/physical address....naw, I seriously doubt it.  They would instead just possibly take administrative actions like stopping payments until you satisfy them with whatever additional paperwork/address verification they may require.   

 

If you want an idea/examples of what the SSA would consider "fraud" (as in serious) then review this SSA Office of Inspection General for examples. 

https://oig.ssa.gov/what-abuse-fraud-and-waste

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Posted (edited)
6 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.

 

The question is not whether you think it is or should be fraud.  Your opinion as to what constitutes the law is, as always, irrelevant.  The question is whether the SSA regulations and relevant law treat it as fraud.  My guess is that it is fraud.

 

Certainly claiming to live in the US to the SSA is unwise.  The benefit of avoiding the annual "I'm alive" letter is hardly worth risking even a temporary interruption in payments.

Edited by cmarshall
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19 minutes ago, JulesMad said:

YES, it is fraud!

...but don't worry about it... They lie about more things than you do 😎

 

The SSA doesn't lie about anything that I am aware of.  

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False Statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001)

The principal federal false statement statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, proscribes false statements, concealment, or false documentation in any matter within the jurisdiction of any of the three branches of the federal government.

I. Except as otherwise provided in this section,

II. whoever,

III. in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States,

IV. knowingly and willfully—

V. a. falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

b. makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

c. makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

 

False Writings as Perjury Generally (18 U.S.C. § 1621(2))

Congress added Section 1621(2) to the general perjury statute in 1976 in order to dispense with the necessity of an oath for various certifications and declarations. Section 1621(2) states:

I. Whoever

II. in any

a. declaration, b. certificate, c. verification, or d. statement

under penalty of perjury as permitted under [Section] 1746 of title 28, United States Code,

III. willfully subscribes as true

IV. any material matter

V. which he does not believe to be true

is guilty of perjury and shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. This section is applicable whether the statement or subscription is made within or without the United States.

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8 hours 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. 

I am surprised that they don't have access to the passport and visa arrival and departure data? 

I know that the Australian Centrelink, our pensions department has this access. 

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45 minutes ago, rosst said:

I am surprised that they don't have access to the passport and visa arrival and departure data? 

There is no departure immigration check when leaving the USA. I have not gotten a arrival stamp for the US since the 1990's. 

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6 hours ago, PETERTHEEATER said:

Boy, if the US can do that to a British citizen there's going to be a lot expats in trouble.

From what I understand this situation is a bit different?  The Citizen must have stated he is living in the UK and collect the COLA as we call it in the U.S. I believe from my understanding those living claiming abroad do not get the COLA, the reason for the citizen repayment?

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6 hours ago, flexomike said:

Your wrong on that I know several Thais who are collecting in Thailand and they are not US citizens

I agree!  Some people just don't  have all the facts before they jump in then you got some who are at the stage you know what I mean?

 

Here is an example SSA for the U.S. don't confuse it with U.K.!

 

Green card holder married to a U.S. Citizen obtains a Social Security number whether they stay thereafter to complete the Green card process when the applicant applies for their benefits " married "  the wife also goes on record and being the wife gets a certain amount each month citizen or not when the Citizen (husband) dies the wife (green card or not) basically get his SSA. I know a number of cases here with Americans kicking the bucket and their Thai widows are rolling in money?🤣

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Thanks for the heads up I started receiving my ss 3 months ago living in Thailand yes I used my Thailand address didn't know I had to do proof of life every 2 years . I don't see its a big deal to register every 2 years best to be truthful and honest 

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Havefunme said:

Thanks for the heads up I started receiving my ss 3 months ago living in Thailand yes I used my Thailand address didn't know I had to do proof of life every 2 years . I don't see its a big deal to register every 2 years best to be truthful and honest 

It's every year in Thailand not every two years.

It was Covid canceled for 2021 but presumably will be required again in 2022.

They send a letter and you send it back.

A physical freakin' document.

If you missed the first letter they send a second letter. 

If you ultimately fail to respond they freeze your benefits.

In normal times the Thai post office is fairly reliable and you'll get most of your mail.

But in many other countries postal service is more or less nonexistent.

Expats in those countries face major challenges complying, motivating many to not reveal that they live abroad. 

Edited by Jingthing
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Sorry guys. I got the Green Card staying outside the country longer than six months confused with SS outside the country. Must be to much Ribena!

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Posted (edited)

duplicated effort - others have already provided same answer

Edited by gamb00ler
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12 hours ago, peleid said:

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

Would have been nice if you had read the question.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Havefunme said:

Thanks for the heads up I started receiving my ss 3 months ago living in Thailand yes I used my Thailand address didn't know I had to do proof of life every 2 years . I don't see its a big deal to register every 2 years best to be truthful and honest 

 

2 hours ago, Jingthing said:

It's every year in Thailand not every two years.

It was Covid canceled for 2021 but presumably will be required again in 2022.

They send a letter and you send it back.

A physical freakin' document.

If you missed the first letter they send a second letter. 

If you ultimately fail to respond they freeze your benefits.

In normal times the Thai post office is fairly reliable and you'll get most of your mail.

But in many other countries postal service is more or less nonexistent.

Expats in those countries face major challenges complying, motivating many to not reveal that they live abroad. 

 

I gather that all you need to do is to sign a piece of paper confirming that you are still in the land of the living and mail it back to the USA. No need to get a third-party witness involved in this process on a physical face-to-face basis, as we Brits are required to do every 2 years in the case of our State Pension payments! And, if that wasn't bad enough, the powers-that-be back in the UK are then extremely picky as to who is deemed to be an acceptable third-party witness in their eyes!!

 

Furthermore, no follow-up letters are sent if we miss prescribed deadlines: our pension payments are then suspended without any further ado. And there was no COVID-related cancellation last year (which coincided with the biennial cycle) in our case!

Edited by OJAS
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14 hours ago, Havefunme said:

Thanks for the heads up I started receiving my ss 3 months ago living in Thailand yes I used my Thailand address didn't know I had to do proof of life every 2 years . I don't see its a big deal to register every 2 years best to be truthful and honest 

It is actually every year until the Covid hit, no big deal, takes a couple of minutes and done

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23 minutes ago, flexomike said:

It is actually every year until the Covid hit, no big deal, takes a couple of minutes and done

It can be a problem if your mail delivery is unreliable. You can't mail back what you don't have.

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