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My life is complicated.
Old 06-09-2020, 11:26 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Nha Trang
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My life is complicated.

Hi all,

Iím a UK citizen but worked mostly in the USA as a greencard holder (since expired). I worked from 1985-2007 in the USA and paid all my taxes and social security contributions. After a messy divorce, I moved to Asia and have mainly lived in China, Mongolia and Vietnam.

Iím 57 now and would like to retire at 62. I believe Iím entitled to SS but I canít figure out how much. For an exact amount, Iíd need numbers which I donít have access to. I also have an inheritance coming of about >=£200k ($250k) once probate is sorted and my parents property sold. My fiancťe and I live on about $1000 per month. Yeah, the cost of living is low in Vietnam. Weíre very frugal.

Iím hoping I can get tips here on how to budget for my retirement and see if 62 is feasible. Or even sooner.

My only vices (hobbies?) are motorcycle riding, cycling and mountain climbing. I hope to take up powered paragliding.
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:40 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site.

It sounds like you are definitely entitled to SS from your work record in the USA.

The first thing I would do is try and register with SS online. I live in the UK and have no problem accessing my SS record. They do use 2 level verification once you are registered which means that each time you log on they will send an authorization code your your registered e-mail, so no US address or telephone number is required. I log on 2 or 3 times a year to check my record and keep my account active.

https://www.ssa.gov/site/signin/en/

I am close to applying for SS myself and checking with other expats I find that the best way is through the US Embassy in London.

If you are currently living in Vietnam then it looks like SS is administered out of Manilla according to the Vietnam US Embassy website.

https://vn.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...cial-security/

Quote:
Social Security
Home | U.S. Citizen Services | Social Security
If you reside in Vietnam and have questions regarding services provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Manila, Philippines. For more information on their services and how to contact them, please visit their webpage at Embassy Manila.

For comprehensive information on SSA’s services abroad, please visit SSA’s webpage Service Around the World.
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Old 06-10-2020, 05:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Welcome to the site.

It sounds like you are definitely entitled to SS from your work record in the USA.

The first thing I would do is try and register with SS online. I live in the UK and have no problem accessing my SS record. They do use 2 level verification once you are registered which means that each time you log on they will send an authorization code your your registered e-mail, so no US address or telephone number is required. I log on 2 or 3 times a year to check my record and keep my account active.

https://www.ssa.gov/site/signin/en/

I am close to applying for SS myself and checking with other expats I find that the best way is through the US Embassy in London.

If you are currently living in Vietnam then it looks like SS is administered out of Manilla according to the Vietnam US Embassy website.

https://vn.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...cial-security/

Hi Alan - my wife recently applied through the London embassy (pre-Carona). The things we learned - they really donít answer requests for info even repeated attempts (she had totalise US and UK records - in the end we just did what we thought we had to do and were right). They are extremely nice about processing things but donít go outside that much if at all. The absolute best way of applying is on the web form on the embassy site. They take applications 30 days before the time you want to start taking payments. They will call you out of the blue with an unregistered number to make an appointment for an ďinterviewĒ so accept strange calls (my wife usually doesnít so that caused a delay). The interview itself is very straightforward and they take bank account info over the phone. The payment appeared the next month exactly as predicted and hoped.
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dd852 View Post
Hi Alan - my wife recently applied through the London embassy (pre-Carona). The things we learned - they really donít answer requests for info even repeated attempts (she had totalise US and UK records - in the end we just did what we thought we had to do and were right). They are extremely nice about processing things but donít go outside that much if at all. The absolute best way of applying is on the web form on the embassy site. They take applications 30 days before the time you want to start taking payments. They will call you out of the blue with an unregistered number to make an appointment for an ďinterviewĒ so accept strange calls (my wife usually doesnít so that caused a delay). The interview itself is very straightforward and they take bank account info over the phone. The payment appeared the next month exactly as predicted and hoped.
Great feedback, thanks for that. For my Medicare Part A interview it was a form I completed on the Embassy website end of April and later received an email giving the date and time they would call me - next week. With the Covid crisis the staff are mostly working from home according to the Webinar I attended in April so it's good they are still processing requests like this.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:15 AM   #5
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Welcome to the site.

It sounds like you are definitely entitled to SS from your work record in the USA.

The first thing I would do is try and register with SS online. I live in the UK and have no problem accessing my SS record. They do use 2 level verification once you are registered which means that each time you log on they will send an authorization code your your registered e-mail, so no US address or telephone number is required. I log on 2 or 3 times a year to check my record and keep my account active.

https://www.ssa.gov/site/signin/en/

I am close to applying for SS myself and checking with other expats I find that the best way is through the US Embassy in London.

If you are currently living in Vietnam then it looks like SS is administered out of Manilla according to the Vietnam US Embassy website.

https://vn.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...cial-security/
Hi Alan,

Thanks for the reply and information. Iím trying to setup an account with the link you provided but itís asking for a US mailing address and a 10 digit phone number. I donít see a choice to skip this.

What to do?
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by UKadventurer View Post
Hi Alan,

Thanks for the reply and information. Iím trying to setup an account with the link you provided but itís asking for a US mailing address and a 10 digit phone number. I donít see a choice to skip this.

What to do?
That's a pity. I registered while I lived in the USA so was not aware you couldn't do it from overseas. I just checked on the site on how to register online and it does state you need a US mailing address.

Since you can't get an account online I would contact the Federal Benefits Unit at the link I provided above.
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:45 AM   #7
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I may be wrong but I do believe you are not eligible to receive retirement benefits as you have to have US Citizenship or be lawful alien according to this page, your GC expired so technically you are neither.

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1.html
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:21 AM   #8
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
That's a pity. I registered while I lived in the USA so was not aware you couldn't do it from overseas. I just checked on the site on how to register online and it does state you need a US mailing address.

Since you can't get an account online I would contact the Federal Benefits Unit at the link I provided above.
Iím trying to contact my tax accountant who did our taxes for most of those years. He might be able to provide numbers because I just need estimates at this point. Iím still a few years away from retiring.

Another member questioned my eligibility. Well, I checked the website for my eligibility before I joined and it looked like there was nothing that seemed to prevent me from being entitled. Just because my greencard expired doesnít mean I canít get benefits. Iíve simply no interest in living or visiting the USA ever again. Maybe the UK but who knows. Iím from South Yorkshire, by the way.

The challenge might be getting documents because my wife kept everything but thatís a problem for when I apply, not for now.
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exit 2024 View Post
I may be wrong but I do believe you are not eligible to receive retirement benefits as you have to have US Citizenship or be lawful alien according to this page, your GC expired so technically you are neither.

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1.html
That would be a bummer. The OP definitely needs to contact the US Embassy particularly since there doesn’t seem to be a tax agreement with Vietnam.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/inter...reaties-a-to-z
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Old 06-11-2020, 02:31 AM   #10
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exit 2024 View Post
I may be wrong but I do believe you are not eligible to receive retirement benefits as you have to have US Citizenship or be lawful alien according to this page, your GC expired so technically you are neither.

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1.html
Iím getting conflicting info. So I did a search. I donít live in Vietnam but Iím stuck here because of covid19. My country of residence is Mongolia. However, if I have to, I could move to the UK for pension purposes.

I also have 7 years national insurance records in the UK. Iíve read I can top up this to get the 10 years necessary. But the amount Iíd get at 67 is rather pitiful. I think about £90 per week.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ca...ard-2015-07-29

This seems rather straightforward but receiving money abroad is the complex part. I think Iíve go to get educated on this complex subject.
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Old 06-11-2020, 04:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by UKadventurer View Post
I’m getting conflicting info. So I did a search. I don’t live in Vietnam but I’m stuck here because of covid19. My country of residence is Mongolia. However, if I have to, I could move to the UK for pension purposes.

I also have 7 years national insurance records in the UK. I’ve read I can top up this to get the 10 years necessary. But the amount I’d get at 67 is rather pitiful. I think about £90 per week.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ca...ard-2015-07-29

This seems rather straightforward but receiving money abroad is the complex part. I think I’ve go to get educated on this complex subject.
That is my understanding as well.

From the link above:

Quote:
If you worked legally in the U.S. and paid Social Security or “payroll” taxes for at least 40 qualifying quarters (approximately 10 years), you are typically eligible for U.S. Social Security retirement benefits.

If eligible for Social Security benefits, you will have to wait until you are 62 years old to receive reduced benefits and full retirement age to receive full benefits.

Relinquishing your green card does not change your eligibility for U.S. Social Security retirement benefits.

Although you may be eligible for U.S. Social Security benefits, your ability to receive payments outside the U.S. depends on a hodgepodge of treaties and international agreements based on your country of citizenship and residency.

A lot of overseas people who work pay voluntary Class 2 NI contributions which only cost £3.05 per week. That is a no-brainer for a good return on investment. You are short of 3 years which will cost £475.80 total for a future index linked income of ~£2,300/year at age 66/67 for 10 years contributions.

I'll send you a link via PM to an ex-pat UK/USA site which I think you will get lots of got info from.
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