Yes, it’s true that my two-year-old daughter is receiving Social Security Insurance benefits – she got her first check on 2 April 2016 and it was retroactive for 20 months – back to when I started receiving my Social Security benefits at age 62.
I initially wrote about this when I first applied, back in September 2015, yes it took 6+ months, I wasn’t even sure if my daughter would get this money or if it really existed.
All I had to go on was a few articles on the Internet that said not many people know about this and not much else. The other problem I had was no Social Security office nearby to walk into and chat. So, I just decided to submit the SSA-4 form and see what happens.
I also included my daughter’s official Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) to prove that she is an American citizen and a notarized copy of my birth certificate. On the form I listed mine and my daughter’s Social Security numbers. Should be enough to prove age and country of birth and citizenship. Right? Wrong!
I gave it about 4 months before I started to get worried and contacted the Federal section of the American Embassy in the Philippines – the nearest Social Security office to me. The first person I spoke with informed me that my paperwork had been mis-routed to the wrong department at the Embassy and the Federal office got it a few days prior. He also told me the lady in charge of it would call me.
About five minutes she called and gave me a minor scolding for putting down the wrong phone number. I fat-fingered it and added an extra digit – but my email address was correct. She told me she mailed a letter to me stating what extra documents I needed and also a form that I have to sign to signify I am alive so I can continue to receive my Social Security benefits.
The package is sent UPS and the Thai lady in Bangkok figured out my phone number using Google. Packet delivered the next day and I had a list of items to dig up and have notarized. Fortunately, the American Citizen Services folks from the Bangkok Embassy were coming to Khon Kaen in about 10 days. They would notarize and then courier the documents to the Philippines. Here is what additional documents they wanted notarized:
- Laela’s Birth Certificate (English and Thai)
- Larry and Ae’s Marriage certificate (English and Thai)
- Larry’s Passport
- Laela’s Passport
Now, in order for my daughter to get the CRBA, we had to show all of this documentation to the American Embassy in Bangkok and I could see no reason for the marriage certificate since that is not a criteria for getting the funds. The pain was not knowing exactly what was wanted since there are no instructions for this on the SSA-4 form.
So, I gathered all the documents and went to the Khon Kaen Pullman Hotel and showed the originals and provided copies and an envelope so they could be notarized and then couriered to the Philippines. This was February 19th.
One week later, the lady in the Philippines emails me asking if I submitted my additional paperwork to the Embassy folks in Bangkok. I tell her yes, one week ago. She tells me she will check.
I wait two weeks and call the lady in the Philippines asking if she received the notarized documents and leave voice mail. She emails me back about 2 hours later with this:
“Thank you. I received it and it was associated with the file for review. I will let you know if we need anything else.”
Anything else? WTF?
I have already submitted initially, along with the SSA-4 form, Laela’s CRBA and my birth certificate. Social Security numbers for both of us on the form. I waited until I received Laela’s SSAN before submitting.
These items were requested in addition to what I initially sent. Keep in mind that nowhere on the form does it identify additional documentation. One would think that having mine and Laela’s SSAN would suffice.
I don’t know what else they can ask for. Military ID card? Thai driver’s license? Yellow house book? Nok Air fan club membership card?
Plus, unless she does ask for something else, I will never find out that it was approved unless I check my bank account.
Even though the SSA folks are supposed to return part of the SSA-4 to me (page 9): Receipt for your claim for Social Security Child’s Insurance Benefit
Anyhow, I just sit and wait and check my bank account weekly.
Surprisingly, received an email from the Philippines telling me that the packet was in Baltimore, Maryland for final review and I should have an answer in 30-120 days.
Even more surprising was the fact that I checked my bank balance on 2 April and the bonus check for my daughter was deposited – not even 30 days. Maybe it got expedited since the folks in the Philippines lost it for 4 months. Who knows.
So, this insurance of children just because their parent is drawing Social Security benefits is true. Now, my daughter will receive a monthly stipend for the next 17 1/2 years (until she is 18) and it will be invested and used for her education.
I don’t know who approved this initially or when but I do know it exists if you are drawing Social Security retirement benefits and you have a child under 18 years old. That is the sole requirement. Well, being American too. Child can be yours, adopted or a step-child. This is still unusual since not many guys at age 62 have a child. – but – according to the Social Security folks, there are a few million kids pulling in a billion or two dollars annually.
I do wonder that the impact of the legal gay marriage laws in the USA will have on this. I can see older gay couples adopting and will then qualify for this money. And, then I can see the US Government putting an end to it. – Maybe.
Or, maybe they will leave it alone knowing that it isn’t smart politics attacking money for kids to get a high school education.
Anyhow, thanks for the couple articles I found online that turned me on to this and thanks to the Social Security folks in the Philippines nad Maryland for approving it. Thanks also to the nice guys and gals at American Citizen Services for coming to Khon Kaen twice per years saving me lots of money.
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Categories: Khon Kaen Retirement
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