Social Security Payments to Filipino Spouses.
While going through some older articles here on PhilFAQS I came across a chain of comments that really deserves to be brought out and presented, front and center, to those readers who are planning to be dependent upon US Social Security payments for themselves and their wives and children while living in the Philippines.
My Reader Said:
I read on the US Social Security website that the minimum income requirements are NOT applicable to Americans on Social Security Disability Income…..
….and FYI…if an American is on Disability, and has a child or adopts (registered of course), they will get 50% of their current benefit additional. If they are married to a Filipina (legally and registered), should the American die, the. Hold will then get between 75 and 80% of his disability benefit till the child is 18 years old….and the spouse can qualify for survivor benefit of about half the benefit also.
So….an expat getting $1200 SSDI, can have a kid and then get $1800 per month, for 18 years. The benefit does NOT rise with more kids…..so beware.
Not advocating having a kid to make money….but it’s good to know for those on Disability afraid if having an unexpected bambino! ?
Okay, Good To Know
- 0.1 Okay, Good To Know
- 0.2 Exactly
- 0.3 I’m Not Just Writing To Blow Smoke, Folks.
- 0.4 For Americans who choose to marry over here and NOT bring their wives to the USA (for at least 5 years), they deny their wives benefits in the future, even after the wives turn 60.
- 0.5 Your Widow May Be Entitled, But Not Able To Be Paid
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But, and it’s a Big But. You (or your survivors) can’t collect SSDI for more than 30 days while outside the USA. Flat. Done. Citizen or not a citizen.
Also please remember that the widow will NOT receive benefits on her own account until she herself reaches age 60.
If there are minor children,under 16, she gets a benefit for herself until the oldest child turns 166, after that nothing until she herself turns 60. I see so many of my fellow Americans making this “widows benefit” assumption, thinking if they die the widow will be taken care of … it’s called the “Widow’s Gap” and it’s a deep chasm for a widow to cross, believe me.
One other fly in the SS ointment. It;s true that benefits to American citizen children will be paid in the Philippines. But a non-US citizen spouse who has not lived in the USA for at least five years can NOT be paid in the Philippines, so even after she turns 60 the Filipina spouse may be SOL (Surely Out Of Luck) with SS, and the husband is long dead and unable to help with anything. Just saying …
As regards your statement, that the wife must reside in the USA for some required period….I scoured the info and went into the SS office and talked with them in Fort Collins CO….and we could not find such a requirement. They did however, insist she MUST be legally registered as your wife. And have all the documents on hand to prove so. And recommended I have all the paper work done ahead of time and put in a safety deposit box, because my Filipina would likely not be equipped to handle this bureaucratic hurdle on her own.So prudent fore planning is important.
I will dig some more on this “widow gap”…and it is true that without a child under 18 or achieving the age of 60….there is no benefit to be paid.
I strongly suggest you search a little farther on the “no payments to Filipina’s” issue. I don’t know what Fort Collins knows about the Philippines, but it’s a BIG problem here and one which bites a great many “in the butt”.
In fact there’s a whole cottage industry of illegal companies who accept payments for Filipino beneficiaries in the US (falsely claiming they live there) and then transfer the money (with some hefty fees and commissions deducted) to those beneficiaries who are actually in the Philippines People are caught and convicted of fraud on this issue from time to time, I don’t recommend this.
Here’s the language Direct from the SSA:
… If you are a citizen of a country in which we require dependents and survivors to meet additional residency requirements, (this means the Philippines) you’ll have to show that you lived in the United States for at least five years. During those five years, the family relationship on which we base benefits must have continued to exist…
Here’s one other official source. Be sure to read all the way down to the paragraph on “Additional residency requirements for dependents and survivors”
I’m Not Just Writing To Blow Smoke, Folks.
These issues come up often here on PhilFAQS and many times readers write in, sometimes even combatively, becuase they don’t like the answers the are getting from me. I’m sorry, but I can’t manufacture a better world for you guys and gals. I can only report upon the real world we actually live in.
You Can’t Collect SSDI payments overseas. It’s the law.
Your Foreign Citizen Spouse Can’t Collect Survivor Benefits while she resides in the Philippines UNLESS she has:
- Lived in the USA for five years.
- Her time in the USA was legal and provable.
- During those five years the same family relationship she is claiming benefits on existed.
Trust me I didn’t just come up with these issues from thin air. Check the references (from the US SSA themselves) I furnished above before you accept an off-the-wall answer from a Social Security office in Podunk USA who doesn’t really know anything about Social Security Benefits overseas.
For Americans who choose to marry over here and NOT bring their wives to the USA (for at least 5 years), they deny their wives benefits in the future, even after the wives turn 60.
Your Widow May Be Entitled, But Not Able To Be Paid
The foreign citizen survivors are entitled to the benefits, but can not collect them unless they can move to the USA.
A Related Subject To Study Up On
One possible path out of this dilema which I won’t go into here might be for the widow of the American citizen to self-sponsor herself for a visa to the USA based upon her husband’s death. That’s a whole subject to research in itself, you can start your research here:
Beware, there are time limits, don’t miss the application date deadlines.
So what else can I tell folks about Social Security Payments to Filipino Spouses?